This post is long overdue (and long). I had a number of false starts to my KidLit career and learned many lessons along the way.
In 2015, I participated in NaNoWriMo. I had recently decided that I wanted to write for children. I knew that I wanted to write the kinds of stories that I read as a child and the kinds of stories that I wished I had read.
I was the founder/editor-in-chief (and filled nearly every other production, editing, admin, and finance role except web designer) for my magazine, Asian Jewish Life: a journal of spirit, society, and culture. I was also freelance writing for the luxury market, volunteering in my community, and raising three children.
And yet, In spite of this all, I did it! I completed NaNoWriMo! In 30 days, I wrote an entire Middle Grade novel THREADS. Needless to say, I was ecstatic and so proud of my achievement. I had to immediately share THREADS with the world! After searching, ‘how to find a literary agent’, I knew that I was ready. December 2015, just days after finishing the first draft, I wrote a query and pressed send!
Do Not Do This!
I queried 11 agents in total for THREADS. I learned that I am a very good letter writer. After all, I am a lawyer. I received 7 rejections and never heard back from 4 agents. Two of my rejections offered feedback. The feedback was essentially, learn to write for kids. I filed THREADS away.
I’m sure that your manuscript is brilliant and your mother will tell you it is. It isn’t ready. December 1, after completing NaNoWriMo on November 30, isn’t the day you should send this incredible manuscript to the world. It needs a serious amount or work. This might end up being your debut novel. You might win every industry award for it, but not in its current form. You need to revise! You need to learn how the industry operates.