Monday, June 21, 2010


Today I was reviewing my three submission lists. First there's the book list. This shows me, among other things, which manuscripts are out, where they are, when they left, and when (or if) I'm likely to hear back one way or the other. Then there is the short stories for magazines or contests list. This one is short, because I don't write much of this type of stuff unless a publication or contest catches my eye. It has the same info on it as the book list. Finally there is the agent list. (Can you tell I like to make thorough lists?) This shows me what agents I've sent what to and when, and what kind of responses I received, if any. This one is also fairly short since I've only tried to gain representation for picture books, and there aren't tons of agents who do PBs.

With the busyness at the end of a school year, I had forgotten to check my lists for a few weeks. I have the happy habit of sending manuscripts out and forgetting about them. When I got that note from the Highlights editor, although I'd seen the announcement date of the winner come and go on my calendar, I hadn't given it much thought. I'd almost forgotten the existence of the story after it left in the mail.

Sending and forgetting is great on the side of not wondering or worrying over a manuscript. It's very relaxing. It's even productive because it enables me to work on the project at hand without a divided mind. But I have to admit, it's not good business. Writing alone isn't enough. At some point you also have to pat your manuscript on the head and send it out into the great, wide world. And then you have to keep track of it and have your list ready for the next place you'll send it if you don't get a favorable response.

You've got to keep those plates spinning, or the show will be over.

My list didn't have enough outgoing listings on it. I'd been working on the new book, a very important plate to spin, but in the mean time, the other plates were wobbling on the brink of disaster. Time to take a day or so, regroup, and resend.

How about you? Are you keeping those plates spinning?

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