Friday, August 9, 2013

Live and Learn

My favorite spot to view the keynote speakers - on the floor in the back where I could spread out.

After this weekend’s conference of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators in Los Angeles, I am super inspired to get cracking on my book ideas in that genre. My weekend was spent meeting other writers, attending lectures, and getting autographs of authors. 

More than anything, I spent the weekend getting inspired to make the time to write – to work on those projects that are almost complete and just need a kick-in-the-pants to finish. At the conference were 1200 writers anxious to get their first, or their next, book in print. Writers anxious to have just one editor or agent respond to their query letter with an “I’m interested. Let’s talk.”

Sitting in the airport on the way back to Vegas, I remembered a time twenty years ago when I could have started my writing career and could have been twenty years ahead of where I am now.

I had just taken my first job as a professional dancer in Branson, MO, and because I always looked for new possibilities and always had new ideas, I bought a book about how to submit an idea to a publisher. I was working in the glitzy entertainment business exactly when Branson was a super hot tourist destination, and I thought a Branson guidebook with the spin of having insider secrets would be great.

I followed the directions of the How To book as best as I could, and I mailed a Book Proposal to three publishers. A few weeks later, I received a letter in return that said he liked my idea and would like me to send a book proposal next.

A book proposal?  That’s what I thought I already sent! Obviously I hadn’t included enough information.
Embarrassed, the letter went into a stack of papers and was forgotten.  Until now.

I had gotten a letter of interest from a publisher!!! Now I see how incredible that was and wish so much that I’d had the guidance or someone as a mentor or the internet, which did not yet exist, to guide me through the process and take advantage of that opportunity. I know I could have written that guidebook back then, and it would have been good.

So, live and learn. Twenty years later, I’m hoping again for a positive letter in the mail. Wish me luck!