Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Do you know what you don't know?

Welcome to all of my new subscribers! I appreciate your interest in my blog. Feel free to actively participate--I love hearing your comments and will be sure to respond!

Over the past several days, I have enjoyed meeting fellow writers and illustrators through JacketFlap in various stages of publication. One thing has stood out to me--many of the aspiring authors I have met through JacketFlap do not know what they don't know. Several have asked me questions on how to begin seeking publication or where to find an agent (or if they even need an agent).

If you have stumbled across my blog and are seeking direction, take heart! All published authors began as you have, not knowing where to begin. Let this post serve as your roadmap.

Now, don't take that to mean, I think I know it all. On the contrary, I know I am not the best suited to describe all the intricate ins and outs of the publishing industry. That is precisely why I will direct you to those more established agents and editors of the field. I'm not going to bother reinventing the wheel (or in this case, the printing press). Rather, I will lead you to several great resources for your forray into children's publishing.

The information will be grouped into topical questions. Be sure to check back on this post periodically, as I will update it as I find other useful links.

What is the submission process?

What is a literary agent and do I really need one? or What should I expect from an agent?

How do I find an agent?
Other resources for finding an agent:
What is a query and how do I write one?
Other useful guides to writing a query:
How do I format my manuscript?

What word count should I have for my children's book manuscript? and How should I format it?

Do I need to find an illustrator for my children's book text? No.

What do I need to know about the audience and competition for my children's book?

What are my rights as an author?

How do I separate the good agents from the bad?
or How do I avoid a scam? or How can I tell if an agent is legit?

What is self-publishing? or Is it a good idea for my manuscript/writing career? or Is it a 'magical highway' to bypass the difficulties of the publishing industry? (For those of you who do not know, the answer to the two previous questions is 'no.' See the links for the professional opinions of Nathan Bransford--Literary Agent and Editorial Anonymous--Children's Book Editor.) Still considering it? What are the sales record of self-published/print-on-demand (POD) books?
or What does an agent/editor think my previously self-published book? or Are articles on self-publishing telling me the truth, free from bias?

Is there a publishing dictionary out there to help me understand all this industry lingo? (courtesy of Editorial Anonymous--Thank you!!)

Are there any blogs I should be aware of as an aspiring children's or YA author?
Are there any organizations I should be aware of as an aspiring children's or YA author?
Are there any websites I should be aware of as an aspiring children's or YA author?

Well, that should get you started on the right path. Please post comments or questions. If I don't know an answer, I will research it for you.


valeriestorey said...

Hi Sarah,
What an amazing amount of material you have gathered here. Excellent research that I know will be so helpful to new writers. Great job and thank you!!

Sarah Garrigues said...

Thanks for the positive feedback! I remember what it was like to be searching for answers, lost in the mix of dozens of websites. This post is a work-in-progress. I just wanted to create one site where a new writer could go to and have most of his or her questions answered. Please, pass along good resource links that you know.

Emily Cross said...

Wow sarah - that is some serious information thank you!

i'm sorry to bother you, but I've recently started up a community forum for writers called the The Writer's Chronicle(mainly for those who blog) where we can meet and discuss all that is writing with other 'online' writers. Also with the recent addition of some published author members we have decided to set up a section to support published writers and help them promote themselves and their books - as we all know how hard it is to get published and how its even harder to get a large readership!

I know this email is out of the blue, but i was hoping that you might drop in and take a look around and perhaps join if your interested?

I'd greatly appreciate it,


Emily Cross

Here is the link; http://thewriterschronicle.forumotion.net/forum.htm

Sarah Garrigues said...

Thanks for the info and link! I'm glad you found the information to be helpful. Please, share this post with others at The Writer's Chronicle.

Sarah Garrigues said...

By the way, I enjoyed your article on the 10 Most Common Query Mistakes that I included it as a link on the post. Thanks for the great resource!