On Getting Advice

“Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.” – Benjamin Franklin.

Since I have gradually gathered the courage to pursue this dream (of writing and illustrating for children, see more about this here), I now have lots of missed time to catch up on.

I am not getting any younger, I want things to happen, so I am no longer going to allow fear to determine my destiny.  In the past, I would visualize asking someone for thoughts and advice and being ‘rejected’ by having no response at all.  This can feel embarrassing if you put ideas out there, but I am more at peace now and can realize it isn’t my problem if they don’t want to answer me (you know that great quote, ‘What other people think of me is none of my business’ ? it is a good point, right?).   With this in mind, I am OK with asking for advice and grasping whatever value I can find from various sources.  So early this year, I wrote to two Scholastic authors/ illustrators that I admire.

Here were their tips.

Ruth Ohi:

-doesn’t have an agent (since Scholastic does not accept unsolicited manuscripts, I assumed this meant one had to have an agent)

-beginner and experienced creators find it hugely beneficial to join organizations such as:

* SCBWI

* CANSCAIP

* CCBC

They offer conferences and workshops where you can meet agents, editors, art directors and have manuscripts or portfolio critiqued.

Barbara Reid:

-does not have an agent either (not a tip, just an interesting tidbit)

-says it is important to already love reading children’s books, saying “The more you are familiar with the genre and what is being currently published the better prepared you will be for publishing and submitting work.”

-join SCBWI, CANSCAIP, CCBC

-take a writing for children’s course, which she says “gives opportunity to share your work and receive criticism and tips.” Also that they are great for networking, and getting to know people in the field.

-enter contests

-follow artists / writers on social media

-create a website or post work on Instagram to build an online presence

-most importantly she says to “prepare the manuscripts in the most professional way you can.”

So far, I have taken all of this advice, except a writing class (yet), I have joined all of these associations and started an Instagram page, and Blog (which will turn into the website), and more – explained here.

I have found that people are happy to help.  I know I like helping people.  So why not ask? They have more experience than I, after all.

hugs,

Devon

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