Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Revising, revising, revising

Time Spent: 3 hours

I spent the day revising and looking at a list of publishers and their websites.

I thought the revising wouldn't be too bad. It really wasn't, but it showed me that I feel I really don't know what I'm doing as far as revising goes. To be fair, I revised a couple of shorter stories, ones where a lot of revising wasn't needed, only some polishing. But what about when it comes time to start revising the longer stories? I can't submit all flash fiction - I'll have to submit something longer than two pages sometime during the semester. This is what scares me. After three semesters of creative writing, I still don't really know how to revise that well. If at all.

I pulled down the list of member publishers from the Children's Book Council and marked all the ones that are currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts, which looks to be about a third of them. I also marked the ones that say query letters first, which adds a few more possibilities.

Something I don't understand, and maybe I'm being too logical about this, is why an organization would include publishers who aren't accepting unsolicited MSs or will only accept them from agents/published authors. Technically, I could just whip off a query letter to the former and it would probably be alright, and I could hire an agent that doesn't get paid unless I get published for the latter, but for someone who's just starting off (like me) that sounds like a lot of time that I don't want to waste. Or maybe I don't want it badly enough, I don't know. Maybe I'm just playing it safe by only going with the companies accepting unsolicited MSs.

Anyway, just to get a feel for each of the publishers, I visited their websites. Got through about half of them. It's interesting to read submission guidelines from company to company. With all the marking and reading I did today, it kind of felt like I was actually looking for a job. I wasn't expecting it to feel like that, and it's a good feeling, but a scary one as well. It's been a long time since I've had to look for a job, especially one that matters, and it's exciting to have that feeling that I'm looking for something I know I'll enjoy. On the other hand, this is a job where my success doesn't depend solely on my abilities but on others liking/appreciating what I have to say.

It's starting to feel very real right now, and I know that is going to get more intense when I actually start submitting to different houses.


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