Workshop Transcript

Approaching Editors, Agents & Authors

with Linda Joy Singleton


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Verla: Okay, everyone, tonight's workshop, Approaching Agents, Authors & Editors is about to begin.

LindaJoy: And all of you--once I start this workshop, it's a jump-in-and-talk discussion

*** Verla has set the topic on channel #Kidlit to Approaching Agents, Authors & Editors workshop in progress

Verla: This workshop is being led by Linda Joy Singleton, author of 20 children's books

LindaJoy: (Guess we're starting...getting serious)

whatie giggles ;)

Verla: During the workshop, you will all please refrain from personal hellos, goodbyes and chit-chat, but PLEASE join in the topic under discussion.

Verla taps the microphone to make sure it is working...a glass of water is on the podium....I think you are set, Linda.

Verla: Okay, Linda, did you have anything else you wanted to say before we begin?

LindaJoy: This is going to be a discussion workshop.

LindaJoy: Everyone gets to jump in with their questions...especially about dealing with editors/agents

LindaJoy: I have worked for three packagers and two I've almost acquired many different agents

LindaJoy: I used to tease that selling a book was easy, but finding an agent was impossible

Verla: LOL Cute, Linda

NOTE: LOL = Laughing Out Loud

LindaJoy: I started out in 1986 as green as green...knew NOTHING about publishing

Verla: Yes, that's how I was, too, Linda. I had a LOT of questions about approaching professional people when I first started out...

LindaJoy: Now I know enough to be professional and realistic

LindaJoy: What I've done is come up with 10 different situations, which I'll describe, and then we can discuss the proper way to behave

LindaJoy: For instance (no names here) I've heard of an editor, who was kind to a new author, but had to reject this person, then was harassed with nasty phone calls afterwards. Now THAT person could clearly use a lesson in publishing etiquette!

LindaJoy: Mostly I meet editors/agents at conferences, but now with online connections a new way is open

LindaJoy: Okay--Situation #1

Verla: Ah...a situation

LindaJoy: Yeah--actually there's more..

LindaJoy: okay--everyone with me?

LindaJoy: (don't all answer...just nod, I'll see you)

zbell: yup

Suzy-Q: Sure

Verla: yes. What are our choices, linda

LindaJoy: You're at a conference and have been talking to an editor who expressed interest in your book. Do you:

Verla: Oh....multiple choice even!

LindaJoy: a. Do you pull out your manuscript and give it to her?

LindaJoy: b. Do you follow her into the bathroom and hand her your address on toilet paper?

Suzy-Q: LOL

LindaJoy: c. Do you ask if you can mail her when the conference is over?

Dani25: c

Suzy-Q: C

ahhh1: c

zbell: c

ragtimemar: c

Verla: We are at a workshop and an editor has expressed interest in our #C!

LindaJoy: Of course! You all know this stuff, so ask your own questions if it's too basic.

LindaJoy: But there ARE people who will try to give their manuscript to editors/agents at conferences

LindaJoy: Which means the editor/agent would have to take it home on the airplane

Suzy-Q: But they will need reading material

LindaJoy: Cute, SQ!

LindaJoy: If you have an agent/editor appointment, sometimes it's okay--but wait for the invitation

Verla: Gulp...I HAVE handed my manuscripts to editors at conferences.,..

Verla: Because they were only about 200 words long and the editors said they would look at it briefly....but not for them to TAKE...just so they could see my style

Verla: I mailed it later to her

Verla: I only showed it to her so she could see my STYLE of writing...not to read the whole thing

LindaJoy: Maybe picture books aren't bad, but mid-grade novels are usually over 100 pages

LindaJoy: And I will admit now (blushing) that I DID this once to a published author I just met

Verla: You gave a big author your whole manuscript to read, linda?

LindaJoy: My very first conference, I asked a BIG author to read my first chapter--and she kindly did

Verla: oh...just the first chapter.

LindaJoy: No...just a chapter...and she was very kind, offered suggestions, but I was too new to know how to take them at that time

LindaJoy: That's why I thought this topic would be a good one...(g)

Verla: Yes, I did the same thing at first. Didn't realize what an imposition it was...

LindaJoy: Exactly!

Verla: (My October Keystrokes article will be on this very subject...)

LindaJoy: Ready to go to the next one? Or do you have any questions?

Verla: next!

LindaJoy: #2 How do you approach an agent/editor at a conference?

Verla: Good question, Linda!

Dani25: That was my question

Dani25: you must be psychic

LindaJoy: This is pretty much the same as the last one.

Verla: I just walk up to them and say, Hi, when you have a few minutes, would you mind if I talked to you for a moment about a manuscript I'm working on?

Verla: My comment was what I would say to an editor or agent or author if I wanted to see if they would be interested in looking at my manuscript

LindaJoy: Yes, Verla...just say, Hi, and talk naturally

LindaJoy: You do NOT follow them in the bathroom or monopolize them at meals.

tinaeva1: No, but someone else always does.

LindaJoy: You can ask about their submission policies...take a business card maybe

Dani25: You DON'T pretend to be room service at 4 a.m.?

whatie: *giggle*

Verla: No, Dani. You don't!

ragtimemar: LOL! Dani

LindaJoy: Great one, Dani!

LindaJoy: But I have watched some authors totally take over and not give an agent/editor room to breathe

whatie: oooh.... that happened to me once. I went to an editor's talk, and waited patiently for my turn to speak to the editor afterwards... and some guy came bristling up and just burst in in the middle of my hello... half an hour later I gave up and went home.

LindaJoy: Usually it's brand new authors who would be embarrassed if they realized this wasn't polite

Verla: Yes, I've seen writers trying to force their manuscripts onto the professionals

Verla: the professionals are usually uncomfortable in those situations..

LindaJoy: okay--here's #3 (back to multiple choice)

LindaJoy: You find a published author online...Do you...

LindaJoy: a) email your story.

LindaJoy: b) Email them to ask for advice

LindaJoy: c) Ask for her agent or editor's address and for a referral?

LindaJoy: Okay--answers?

Verla: Yikes, linda!

Dani25: tough one. I know a isn't right

Suzy-Q: none of the above

whatie: d - none of the above ;)

Verla: I would only do and ask for advice

redtail19: d) none of the above

LindaJoy: Actually B isn't bad...most authors don't mind some simple advice questions

LindaJoy: But only basic stuff

Suzy-Q: but how does a new author know what is basic?

LindaJoy: Good question, SQ -- Ask!

Verla: But most likely what I'd do is Email and tell the author how much I like what they write (assuming I really do, of course....)

Verla: And then if they responded, I could open up an email correspondence...and later ask if they would answer some questions or whatever I was wanting to know from them...

redtail19: that I would do , verla

LindaJoy: That's probably the best, V

LindaJoy: Once you start a dialogue, an author will often offer advice or even a critique

LindaJoy: I have done exactly that with other authors--and made some great friends

LindaJoy: But Email offers new opportunities to be bold and unprofessional if you aren't careful

Verla: true, Linda

LindaJoy: I personally had someone I did NOT know send me a manuscript

redtail19: really? i don't think i'd have the nerve

Verla: I have already gotten quite a few requests to do critiques for people I don't know....

LindaJoy: I know what you mean (g)

Suzy-Q: Like me, verla?

Suzy-Q: hehehehehe

Verla: lol No, I know you, sq

Suzy-Q: or did you offer first?

Verla: I'm sure I offered!

Suzy-Q: I'm sure you did too.

whatie imposed on verla when I first met her *blush*

ragtimemar: Authors are helpful, aren't we? :)

Verla: Hey, if I don't want to do one, I say no

LindaJoy: okay--more questions or should we go on?

Suzy-Q: Go on

LindaJoy: Okay--except we're going to skip first to #6 since it's topical

LindaJoy: #6 (we'll go back later): You know this great picture book author from chat and you've written a book just like you

Verla: Hey! I resemble that question, linda...<giggle>.

LindaJoy: a. Do you send a manuscript for her to critique?

LindaJoy: b. Ask her to tell her agent/editor about it?

LindaJoy: c. Ask if she critiques and if she charges for her services

LindaJoy: (You can probably come up with a good d.!)

Verla: Hey, #C is a good one!

Dani25: c

LindaJoy: Yes--#c is the best because MANY author have to charge now to make a living and compensate for their time

Verla: Yep. Extra money is NICE.

whatie: d. none of the above. if it's just like hers she shouldn't want to read it.

Verla: I wouldn't mind, whatie...

whatie: I would :)

LindaJoy: That's also a good point, Whatie

LindaJoy: Someone like Verla enjoys praise but doesn't want people to copy her

Verla: But if the author was uncomfortable reading it....she would say, NO!

whatie: *I* get very upset when reading something I could have done (only better, of course)

LindaJoy: Most authors would say NO -- and most new authors would take offense, which makes things awkward

Verla: lol. I expect lots of people will try to "copy" my style once it is out, Linda...but that's okay...because I did it first. :-)

LindaJoy: Okay, back to #4 ... You finished your masterpiece WINNIE THE PANDA BEAR and you are ready to submit.

Verla: okay....

Verla: I have my manuscript in my hand...ready to SUBMIT it...

Verla: What now, Linda?

LindaJoy: Do you

a) Ask published friends WHERE to submit?

b) Post on the C-W list and ask for publications?

c) Do your homework and research yourself

hollyj: All the above

Verla: Definitely C!


Dani25: c :-(

NOTE: :-( is a "frownie face"

ragtimemar: c

whatie chooses F. hide it in the drawer :)

NOTE: :) is a "smilie face"

LindaJoy: NO, Whatie!!!!

ragtimemar: Whatie! Tsk, tsk! (:)

Verla: No,whatie, you do NOT stick it in a drawer! You send it OUT!

whatie: okay, first C, pick a place, THEN f. :)

Suzy-Q: Jenny now you sound like me, Cut that out!

Verla slaps whatie around the room with a wet WILL send your manuscripts OUT, whatie! Understand?

whatie: verla: yes ma'am!

LindaJoy: It's one of my pet peeves when someone asks for publications referrals--that's part of your job as a writer

LindaJoy: I am personally much more open to helping others than I'm sounding right now (g)


LindaJoy: Of course you can ask your friends specific questions, but not a general "Where?"

Dani25: Specific how?

LindaJoy: Dani, let's say you looked up three or four publishers and aren't sure which ones promote the best or do rhymes...those questions would be good to ask

whatie: dani: like "I found this place called Turtle, does anyone know anything about them? They sound cool!"

LindaJoy: Exactly, Whatie...just don't expect others to do EVERYTHING for you

Dani25: Okay, I get it

Verla: I think it's okay to ask questions like...does anyone know if XXX publisher or XXX publisher is more receptive to historical fiction?

Verla: But it is NOT okay to say, "I have just finished my historical midgrade novel. Does anyone know where I should send it?" THAT is YOUR job, to find the right publishing houses through your research

LindaJoy: Okay, #5 ...

LindaJoy: 3 months have passed since your submitted your masterpiece OINK MOON to an editor or agent. You worry it's lost. Do you:

LindaJoy: a) call them?

b) send a note with SASE or

NOTE: SASE = Self-Addressed, Stamped Envelope

c) Call and send notes continuously till you hear from them

redtail19: b

Dani25: d send a singing telegram

LindaJoy: Hmmm...Dani, should we worry about YOU?

Dani25: Sorry :-)

Verla: LOL. We have a problem with Dani...

Dani25: really, I meant b

whatie: b....

LindaJoy: B is good. Do NOT hastle them with phone calls.

Suzy-Q: e send a stripping telegram

LindaJoy: SQ!!!! Now we have to worry about YOU, too!

Suzy-Q: LOL

Verla: B! Send a SAS postcard to the editor and ask for the status of the manuscript!

NOTE: SAS = Self-Addressed, Stamped

redtail19: even better, V--less postage

Verla: Then wait ONE month for a reply

Verla: And if no answer, THEN I would call.

LindaJoy: right, Verla!

LindaJoy: Otherwise they'll reject you just to lose the problem.

whatie: generally, ONE phone call is all right, especially if you've sent a questioning note. lots of calls aren't good.

tinaeva1: Remember to send a SAP in the beginning next time

zbell: what's a sap?

Dani25: self addresed postcard?

tinaeva1: self addressed postcard

Verla: Yes, Self Addressed Postcard (But DON'T forget to put the return postage on it, too!)

zbell: ah, thanks!

Harazin: What if after 3 mo. you get an email from a senior editor and she says she needs 2 wks to react. Should you send her a thank you for your response email?

Verla: I would email her back and thank her for letting you know the status of the manuscript, Harazin...and that you are looking forward to the reply.

LindaJoy: Ditto, Verla

LindaJoy: I'd wait the two weeks, Harazin, and if you hear nothing contact her again

whatie: thank yous are always appreciated. especially when written.

LindaJoy: I was at a conference once where a woman stood up and started singing so the editor would remember her

hollyj: Yes, Linda, but what would the editor remember her for

Verla: LOL! I bet the editor DID rememeber her...but not the way she wanted the editor to!

LindaJoy: I bet so, too, Verla

whatie: linda: hey, I was at that conference too :)

LindaJoy: Whatie--that was in 1986 in Sacramento!

LindaJoy: Or has this singing thing been done more than once!

whatie: linda: oh. well, someone else did the same thing in 1998 :)

Verla: Hmmm. I wonder if it was the same lady? LOL

Suzy-Q: maybe she went to a different conference?

LindaJoy: I bet the editors have fun sharing THAT story during lunches out

redtail19: maybe it's the same person still trying <G>

LindaJoy: COULD BE!!

LindaJoy: Okay, on to #7 ...You're at a conference & start talking to a new friend who you learn is a published writer. You want her to read your story. Do you ask her?

Dani25: I'd be too intimidated

Suzy-Q: you slip it under her door while she is in the shower.

redtail19: not me, but I'd wish I had the nerve to

LindaJoy: It's perfectly all right to ask someone to look at your work, but think it through first, and offer to pay a critique fee if there is one

Verla: I think it's okay to ask if she ever reads people's stories...then if she says, yes, you could ask if she wanted to read one of yours...

LindaJoy: Yes, Verla!!! Exactly.

LindaJoy: When it comes to picture books that are short, it doesn't take too much time to read them, but a published author has to be careful

Verla: yes,that is for sure!

tinaeva1: Perhaps you should read something she's written first

tinaeva1: You might not even want her critique:)

LindaJoy: Good point, I am not an expect on picture books, so I wouldn't be much help

LindaJoy: There have been cases of people accusing someone of stealing their ideas after a critique

Verla: that is very sad...

LindaJoy: Many authors will not even judge contests anymore because they're afraid of lawsuits

DonnaB2: Patricia McKissack, and maybe other authors as well, no longer reads people mss. If she has already had a similar idea, she feels she must drop her idea so as not to be accussed of "stealing it" later.

NOTE: mss = manuscripts

Verla: ah...good point, donna

LindaJoy: And similar ideas are out there! While in Los Angeles, I showed one of my stories to a good friend--and she seemed bothered, then admitted she had something similar

Dani25: There aren't any totally new ideas

Verla: I remember that!

Don_s: I want to say this about similar ideas. It's the style in which you write your Idea that is you and that makes all the difference in the world. :)

LindaJoy: True, Don...but authors run the problem of publishers not wanting to do a topic that's done already

Don_s: ok

Don_s: I can see that.

Dani25: So, are there any authors who might risk critiquing new writer's manuscripts?

Verla: Many "risk" it Dani...I know I love to help others when I I love to critique manuscripts for people.

LindaJoy: Lots of authors are in critique Verla is in STARS

Verla: Yes, I am.

DonnaB2: Lots of us not-yet-authors are also in critique groups.

LindaJoy: And I sometimes will critique for friends.

LindaJoy: I spent 8 years in a weekly critique group--and I learned so much there

DonnaB2: But we wannabees just figure that the published authors know so much more.

LindaJoy: I used to critique more, but have grown cautious because I'm afraid of hurting feelings and I put many hours into a critique

DonnaB2: We all want a published author to look at our stuff and tell us how to fix it.

Verla: A critique group is one of the BEST ways to get feedback on your manuscripts. As long as it isn't just a "Wow! that is great!" group, but a group that is really tearing the manuscripts apart and helping the author to improve...

LindaJoy: That's why many authors have set up critique services

tinaeva1: What is a typical charge for a critique?

LindaJoy: Verla--can you answer that?

LindaJoy: I've never charged, so I don't know

Verla: I'm not sure WHAT a typical charge is...

pearlsue: At a critique service is offered. I think it's around $85 for a full critique from a former editor

Suzy-Q: at our SCBWI conference they are charging $35.00 for one.

NOTE: SCBWI = Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators

tinaeva1: Hmmmm

Verla: At the SCBWI National conference, they are charging $60 for critiques

LindaJoy: That sounds right..and for LONG manuscripts it can get expensive

DonnaB2: No matter what length the ms.?

NOTE: ms = manuscript

redtail19: what length ms are those amounts for?

LindaJoy: Many former editors have set up critique services, like Laura Belgrave

Verla: WriteLinks website also has a critique for pay service.

LindaJoy: That's a good place to try

DonnaB2: Barbara Seuling also does critiques.

pearlsue: Laura Belgrave is 'The Slushpile'. I don't know exact amounts regarding length, but I recall $85 when I asked about my middlegrade novel several months ago.

NOTE: It is possible that the Slushpile website may no longer be offering this service.

LindaJoy: That's reasonable for a longer manuscript, Pearl

Verla: Someone once told me she charged $XX a page...

Verla: but I don't remember what the amount was!

whatie: I used to charge $100 for an entire book, but I'd give various discounts based on how poor and nice the author was.....

LindaJoy: Okay--let's do one last question and then I'll give some basic rules of etiquette

Verla: Okay, next question!

Verla: This is FUN!

LindaJoy: Final question: You go to a conference. You want to meet editors and agents. Ho do you do it without being rude?

LindaJoy: Anyone want to answer? (no choices here)

Suzy-Q: I want choices!

Harazin: Volunteer?

LindaJoy: EXCELLENT suggestion.

LindaJoy: I once got to go to lunch with an editor because I was a member of the board.

whatie: you stand there staring at them, tracking their every move with your eyes, until you make them nervous enough to ask you what you want :)

LindaJoy: LOL, Whatie!

tinaeva1: If they were a speaker, you might just thank them and strike up a conversation about the topic

LindaJoy: Just talk to them like REAL people. But don't drown them in questions about ONE manuscript.

pearlsue: I've never been to a conference...but I think I would try to get involved right at the beginning, helping organize via my local SCBWI. If I'm on the 'committee', then I'd have a good excuse to introduce myself, right?

LindaJoy: Right, pearlsue!

LindaJoy: Getting involved is a BIG plus to learning behind the scenes and getting info FIRST.

LindaJoy: Do you know that the SCBWI RA's have their own network and get information FIRST?

NOTE: RA = Regional Advisor

LindaJoy: One time I was standing in a group of YA authors and one turned out to be an editor--who told me how to submit to them.

Dani25: Say how much you enjoy the books they've done?

LindaJoy: Yeah, Dani

LindaJoy: After authors speak, they are nervous about how they did and LOVE positive feedback

Verla: Most people love to get say something nice to much you enjoyed their talk...or how much you are looking forward to their talk, etc.

ragtimemar: Mingle, mingle, mingle..

LindaJoy: Yeah--mingle.

redtail19: mingle is great for gregarious writers, but what about us introverts? :-)

Verla: Stand near the speakers and listen to the conversations that other, more out-going people are holding with the speakers, red

LindaJoy: Yes, mingle with the other introverts--many of them will be published authors who love to talk

whatie: walk up to them, nervously shuffle papers, then say, slowly, like you're reading it, "Hi. You have a nice dress." This is especially effective for male editors.

redtail19: lol, whatie

LindaJoy: (Male editors in dresses...hard enough to find male editors!)

zbell: really Linda, I assumed the editor's would be primarily male, for some stupid reason!

LindaJoy: Most editors are female...and most are YOUNG.

ragtimemar: Probably a mix, I would think?

pearlsue: No, marianne--a mix for editors of adult books, but not children's.

ragtimemar: Thanks, pearl..

LindaJoy: Okay some basic tips:

LindaJoy: Do not give manuscripts to editors/agents unless they ask.

LindaJoy: Do NOT give a long plot description of your book that you KNOW they'll want to buy--unless they ask.

LindaJoy: Do NOT ask for personal favors, like referrals.

LindaJoy: Be professional at all times. Submit AFTER the conference (or before)

LindaJoy: Ask editors/agents/authors about their books.

Suzy-Q: Tell the speaker how nice their shoes go with their outfit.

Verla: Be SURE to give the speaker who showed up with two different shoes a bad time about their mis-matched shoes! (WEG)

NOTE: WEG = Wicked Evil Grin

Suzy-Q: LOL

ragtimemar: Didn't Paula Danziger do that once?

Suzy-Q: no, Linda did!

Verla: No, Linda Joy did!

ragtimemar: OH! LOL!

Verla leans over and sneaks a peek at Linda Joy's shoes to see if they match THIS time...

LindaJoy: (They match!)

ragtimemar: LOL!

LindaJoy: VERLA!!! I'm trying to be serious here!

Suzy-Q: You can be serious, the rest of us aren't doing so well at it.

LindaJoy: SQ!!! Do you want the rest of my tips or not?

whatie: I do I do I do!

Suzy-Q: Yes ma'am

redtail19: I do, Linda

Verla: Yes! We want the rest, Linda.

Dani25: More tips!!

LindaJoy: I also wanted to add about editor/agent appointments at conferences...any of you have those?

Verla: I have, linda..once

LindaJoy: If you go to a conference and get an appointment, usually 15-30 minutes, you want to be prepared

LindaJoy: When I had editor appointments, I made up a list of my pertinent manuscripts with a short description so they could see them at a glance

LindaJoy: Be brief. Sell yourself & book like a quick commercial.

writerc: What conferences are you going to where you are meeting all these editors?

LindaJoy: Usually SCBWI conferences

LindaJoy: But I also belong to Romance Writers and they have appointments

Verla: Many SCBWI conferences have editors attend and speak, writers

zbell: Is it neccessary to go to conferences until you have been published?

pearlsue: zbell--I have never been to a conference and have had work accepted for publication.

Verla: It was going to conferences and listening and talking and learning that helped me to get published, zbell!

LindaJoy: Go to conferences whenever you can! That's where you learn, mingle, and share with others

LindaJoy: But sure you can sell without leaving your house

Verla: right, Linda

LindaJoy: (It's just more fun to chat with people who understand you)

pearlsue: I would love to have gone to conferences...but it wasn't possible for me. Someday...

Verla: Go when you CAN, pearl.

Dani25: Someday for me, too

zbell lives in No Man's Land and is far, far from civilization

redtail19: sounds like where i am, zbell

LindaJoy: have online workshops and other connections that I never had when I started

LindaJoy: You can do a mail critique group, too

Verla: THIS is like a conference...

LindaJoy: Yes, it IS

Suzy-Q writes this all down, want to remember it all for my conference in 3 weeks

zbell: Yes, I have learned a LOT from visiting with people in this room

LindaJoy: (Actually the best way I learned was to be a judge for contests and see others' mistakes)

ragtimemar: I critique via snail mail a lot, because I crit children's plays and music, pearl...

LindaJoy: Okay--my final tips, then questions

Verla: yes, we only have 7 minutes left, linda!

LindaJoy: My watch says 11

Dani25: 11!

Verla: Good. We will use YOUR watch instead of my clock.

Miriam_: 11

Suzy-Q: mine says 22

LindaJoy: SQ!! Get a new clock!

Verla: 11 minutes it is....

LindaJoy: RULES: 1. Published authors, agents, and editors are BUSY. Their time is valuable.

LindaJoy: #2. Go ahead and ask a published friend/ed/agent a favor, but be prepared for a NO if they are busy or be prepared for harsh criticism.

Verla: And we are not allowed to be thieves and STEAL their time...

LindaJoy: (My own level of writing standards has risen VERY high since I first submitted error-riddled manuscripts)

Verla: harsh criticism of the manuscript if they DO agree to look at it, right, Linda?

pearlsue: Yes, Verla, Linda. People often ask me to critique. But some don't *really* want a critique...

LindaJoy: Some will be very blunt. I tend not to be because I worry too much about feelings.

Dani25: Have a thick skin

LindaJoy: But the more I criticize, the better your work IS.

pearlsue: But LindaJoy...if their feelings get hurt by critiques, then they shouldn't be in this business...

LindaJoy: Pearlsue, that's TRUE...and yet I remember when I started out and just wanted to hear praise...if I'd been crushed, it would have been harder to continue

Suzy-Q: I thought you didn't like my work the first time you critiqued something for me Lyra. Now I know differently.

tinaeva1: Who is Lyra?

Suzy-Q: LindaJoy

Verla: lyra is Linda Joy's normal chat name, tina

Dani25: You mean the more you criticize, the better it becomes, or you wouldn't be so hard if there wasn't potential?

Verla: Yes, it is a RARE manuscript that cannot be improved SOMEHOW

ragtimemar: yep, V..

Miriam_: amen

Verla: yes, but sometimes, new writers have never seen the REAL side of publishing..they have only had friends and relatives look at their work and tell them how GOOD it is..they are not really prepared mentally for the fact that what they have written is NOT yet ready to be published....

LindaJoy: Exactly, Verla...I needed to get tough to get better

LindaJoy: I am the hardest when there is potential

Dani25: Beat me up, Linda!

LindaJoy: #3. Some authors won't critique from fear of lawsuits (which we discussed).

LindaJoy: I remember going home from critique and feeling so GOOD because they liked my stories...which were NOT publishable I now realize

Suzy-Q: The first time I had an editor critique my work I cried. Now I know better.

pearlsue: Sorry, I disagree. If you write from your heart, nothing will stop you--certainly not a tough critique.

LindaJoy: I agree Pearlsue...I wouldn't have stopped, but I might have slowed down...I am very senstive unfortunately

Christyy: I stopped writing for ten years because of negative criticism...

ragtimemar: My point exactly, Christy

ragtimemar: True, Linda, you need encouragement at that point in your writing...


ragtimemar: But, as the head of a children's writers group for 2 years, I saw much potential in "newbies" - that needed refining, yes, but also encouragement and hope. Just my opinion.

LindaJoy: Good point, Ragtime

LindaJoy: I have had two friends pay for the SCBWI critiques and come away CRYING

Miriam_: oh no

LindaJoy: I knew the critiques were right, but they were not gentle

ragtimemar: Insensitive editors, IMO...

NOTE: IMO = In My Opinion

writerc: I quit a writing group because they loved everything I wrote. A waste of time.

pearlsue: Yes, marianne, I agree that potential should be encouraged, and there are certainly methods of critiquing that are less hurtful. But when I give my work to a critique partner, I WANT to hear the bad stuff

LindaJoy: True, need the criticism and also kindness

Dani25: I don't trust people who never have anything bad to say

Suzy-Q: I had lots of friends tell me how good my things were, I knew they could be better but didn't know what to do. Then I found this group.

LindaJoy: Good,'s like a marriage, finding the right critiquers

pearlsue: If I can't take criticism from a critique group or partner, I will never have a chance with an editor.

LindaJoy: When you TRUST a critique partner, they'll give you the bad stuff

ragtimemar: There is a way to critique gently, that will sink in.

pearlsue: LindaJoy--great point. TRUST is very important.

Verla: When I critique, I ALWAYS try to tell the person what is GOOD about their well as what they can do to make it better...more publishable.

redtail19: that's important V

ragtimemar: In my group, we start out with the good things, then talk about the changes needed..

DonnaB2: How do you know if your story is good enough? If you've had several (unpublished) writer friends critique it and done several rewrites; you think it is as good as it can get, you send it out. Maybe an editor doesn't think it's good enough yet. But how do you KNOW?

pearlsue: DonnaB2--if you send it out several times and get only form rejections, I would say, take another look at it.

LindaJoy: You might not know about THAT story, Donna, but by writing and rewriting, you'll keep getting better and a book or two later you might sell

Verla: That's when it's helpful to have a published person or other professional in the writing field critique your manuscript, donna. Also...if you get back nothing but form rejections, no personal ones, that is a GOOD indicator that your story is not yet ready to send out.

ragtimemar: Yes, a "somewhat" good indicator..

Suzy-Q: My first two rejections were glorified ones, but at the time I didn't know the difference.

pearlsue: Suzy-Q--same here! I got a bunch of personal rejections and was so depressed--didn't know they were 'good ones'!

Verla: That's when talking to other writers helps, learn that everything you thought was negative isn't necessarily so!

LindaJoy: true, Verla

pearlsue: That's right, Verla--showed my rejections to a much more experienced friend--she got all excited for me! LOL!



LindaJoy: #4 is next. Do not repeatedly call an agent or editor to beg for NEWS--it will make them mad. A nice SASE note is fine.

LindaJoy: #5. Never send a registered manuscript--editors won't sign.

whatie: linda: I would have to argue with that.....

LindaJoy: Okay, Whatie--argue!

whatie: well, remember that when I was an editor, it was not children's, and fields are different. however, I ASKED my authors to send their manuscripts registered.

whatie: and I got very annoyed at ones who didn't.

LindaJoy: Interesting Whatie

LindaJoy: Okay--#6

LindaJoy: #6--Read editor's lists. Research. Read books! Do your homework.

LindaJoy: You want my ending line now or more questions?

ragtimemar: No, Linda, please, your ending line.

ragtimemar: (:)

LindaJoy: Rating your rejection comments is a good measuring tape

LindaJoy: Okay--my final line....(drum roll)


Suzy-Q: dddddddddddd ddddddddddddddd ddddddddddddddd (drum roll)


ragtimemar: 2 da dum da dum da dum!

Dani25: Hey, I can't hear over the drumming!

LindaJoy: Editors/agents are just people. But BUSY people who need writers of good books to advance their careers. Spend more time WRITING, REWRITING, READING...not on chasing editor or agents--then sell a great book!

LindaJoy: (Now it's open talk!)

Miriam_: very well said linda!

pearlsue: Thanks, LindaJoy--that was terrific. :-)

ragtimemar: Yep, I agree, Linda. That's the final word!!! (:)

Dani25: And then people can start chasing you:-)

LindaJoy: True, Dani!

whatie claps

LindaJoy: thanks

Suzy-Q: Hi everyone!!!!!

redtail19: aho!

Miriam_: clap! clap! clap! Wonderful workshop Linda! Thanks

Suzy-Q: I didn't get to say that when I first came in.

Christyy: sounds good Dani

tinaeva1: Thanks alot, Linda and Verla G'night all

Verla: Thank you SO much, Linda. GREAT workshop!

zbell thanks Lyra for the wonderful workshop!!

redtail19: thanks, linda!

LindaJoy: I hope so! Anything I didn't answer?

Verla throws silly string all over everyone in the room....

Miriam_: not up the nose verla!

ragtimemar: LOL! Miriam...

Verla: No...far from the nose!

Suzy-Q: hey silly string is my trademark!

ragtimemar: LOL!

Verla: but you weren't here at the beginning, I brought the silly string for you...

Suzy-Q: Oh ok

Dani25: Terrific job

Suzy-Q: Yea LindaJoy!!!!!

redtail19: calp clap clap

ragtimemar: Thanks, Linda, you handled us unrulys quite well! (:)

LindaJoy: Silly string glopping in my hair...choking me...

Suzy-Q hands LindaJoy a gourmet caramel apple for a job well done.

LindaJoy: SQ--I had dental work caramel

Suzy-Q scrapes off all the caramel.

LindaJoy: Good! (Hey, SQ--I still like caramel!)

Suzy-Q hands LindaJoy the bowl with caramel in it for later

Christyy: thank you Linda!

writerc: First time I've tried something like this, Fun, thanks.

LindaJoy: You were all great--asking lots of questions

Miriam_: we are never short on questions linda

pearlsue: LindaJoy--thank you. But I did everything backwards and am still learning...

Don_s: Thanks Linda for the workshop. You are appreciated.

Miriam_: got to go. Thanks Linda. It was great!

LindaJoy: bowing with a perfect ballet curtsey

LindaJoy_: bye everyone



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