Many books have the power to motivate. Reading a strong story with relatable characters that spark an emotional surge can easily put me on a path to create something just as engaging. It’s not every day the motivation comes from a publishing guide. After reading the articles, interviews, and roundups in the 30th annual edition of Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market 2018, I can safely say this guide has put me back on that magical path.
Let’s Back Up a Bit
I’ve had other editions of this “trusted” guide before. Back in 2009-2010, I read through the advice, researched the publishers, read blogs by the agents, I thought that was MY YEAR. Turns out it was my year to get a handful of rejection letters.
I was younger and more naïve back then. I let those rejection letters get to me, no matter how many times I heard they shouldn’t. But I continued to work on my manuscripts. I attended classes and conferences and joined critique groups. I did everything I read I should do. Still, no publisher or agent was interested.
So, I did what every motivated minor does in a situation where they want something so bad but is constantly told no… I did it anyway. I self-published two novels. But I had abandoned the Writer’s Market and SCBWI in the process. I thought I didn’t need them. I was wrong.
Back To Now
Even though the advice in the CWIM is pretty much the same as before—don’t give up, keep reading, keep writing, go to book events, join SCBWI, read more, write more, edit a lot—it means something different to me now.
After already going through a publishing process and seeing all the work it takes to finish and keep the books afloat, I can really see where community makes a difference. Even though I’ve never met the people I read about in this guide, I feel like they’re all rooting for writers to succeed.
Into the Future
While I never gave up on my original manuscripts, there’s a renewed motivation to get them back in front of the publishing world and really see them shine. I’m a renewed member of SCBWI, heading to my first event—since rejoining—tomorrow. The spark is a lit once again. It’s a thrill to feel it crackle, making hairs stand on end in the excitement of what the future will bring. I have the Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market to thank for striking the match and setting me back on this path.