Wednesday, May 2, 2007

World Famous Children's Author?

So, how does someone become a world famous children's author? Good question. I'm clueless about the "world famous" part, although I am closer to the "children's author" title than I've ever been. Whoo-hoo! Sorry, I get a little carried away when I think about it.

Would you like to hear (or read, rather) the whole, long, dramatic story? Good, I knew you'd say "yes"! Here it is in a nutshell:
  • Last year I went to the Columbus Writers of Literature for Children Conference (what a mouthful!) where I met two really cool agents (literary, not secret service). At every conference I attend, I try to share a table with at least one of the speakers, so I can glean from their vast stores of knowledge (read: shameless schmoozing). So, here I was sitting with Susan Schulman (who is Louis Sachar's agent -- yes THE Newbery-Award winning author of Holes) and Stephen Fraser, an agent who used to be the exec. editor at HarperCollins Children's Books. We had an interesting discussion about YA authors, who's writing what, and so on. At the end of lunch, I asked Susan if I could sent her my manuscript when it was finished. She graciously said "sure" and handed me her card.
  • Months later, when I finally got my butt in gear and wrote my story, I sent it to Susan. A few months went by and then finally... an e-mail from her assistant. "Will you please send another copy of Chicken Scratch (that's my story) to us at our CT office?" She also asked me to send along the news article and photo that I had written as a very green newspaper reporter many years ago (Chicken Scratch is loosely based on this article).
  • So, of course, I rushed out, made copies of the article, and sent the goods to the CT office. A few days later, I get an e-mail saying, "We think your story is delightful and fun, and we'd like to represent you." Before I passed out, I managed to wake up my husband with the great news, to which he replied, "Ugh.... hmppphhh, good," before he fell back to sleep. No actually, he was a little more excited than that, although I don't think his head ever left the pillow. My kids, on the other hand, were screaming and jumping up and down along with me and planning what they would wear to the movie premiere (because, of course, Mommy, they'll have to make it into a movie)!
  • So, now, I have a real live New York City agent representing my work! And guess what, she's sent out my manuscript to 19 different publishers! And guess what else? I went back to the same Columbus writing conference last weekend and met with an editor who seemed very enthusiastic and interested in the manuscript! Whoo-hoo!
  • Stay tuned for more exciting news! I'll keep you posted...

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