I just returned from the 2015 NESCBWI conference this past weekend and like always, it was fantastic! How many times do you get to go to a conference and hear not only this years Caldecott winner, Dan Santat, but also this years Newbury award winner, Kwame Alexander speak? Very Cool!
Listening to all the speakers and award winners got me thinking, what if that were me? What would I say to this giant crowd listening to my every word? Wide eyed writers and illustrators looking for that piece of advice to launch their career? Would I give advice? If I did, then I would have to compete with them for the next award. I don’t think so!
So here I give you my fantasy acceptance speech where I would endow upon you my top 5 tips of “Great Advice” to all the up and coming writers.
First off I want to thank you all who voted for me, this is so unexpected. I was once just like you sitting in the crowd and wondering how can I get to be that awesome, that handsome, that modest and gracious? Well you can’t. But here are some tips that will help you reach your goals at being a writer.
1: Don’t join a critique group. I mean really who knows your story better then you? All those people who are telling you the same thing on how to fix your manuscript? Morons. Stick with your gut. Don’t change a thing.
2: Don’t bother making you manuscript the best it can be before sending it out. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation, thats what editors are for. Really lets think about this for a minute. If you make your story perfect before the editor sees it then why does a publisher need to keep them on? You’ve just caused someone to lose their job, their kids are going to live on the streets all because you insisted on using spell check. You have to stop thinking of yourselves as writers and start thinking of yourselves as job creators. Every time you miss use the word you’re/your an Editor gets a job. Your Welcome.
3: Do not do research on what publisher to send to. The shot gun effect is by far the best method of finding a publisher. Yes, maybe the publisher you send to only does niche erotic nature books. But maybe it will be your picture book that convinces them otherwise.
4: When you do send to a publisher contact them at least once a day, maybe even twice just to be sure. They get so many submissions every day so you want to make sure your name stays at the top of their list.
5: Agents. Waste of time. No reason to have the middle man say no to you when you can have the publisher do it for them. Plus when you get a contract you don’t need an agent to look it over. I’m sure the publisher will give you the best possible deal and look out for your financial interests.
Bonus Tip #6: Do not whatever you do join the SCBWI you will not meet great life long friends, connect with agents, editors and incredibly talented writers and artists. Or learn anything you don’t all ready know at the workshops. In fact take your membership dues, go to Vegas and play Baccarat, I hear its very easy to learn.