On Thursday I mailed off my latest picture book manuscript to be critiqued in a 20-minute consultation at the SCBWI Summer Conference in LA. This particular manuscript had its humble beginnings as a line item in a list of ideas I brainstormed prior to the Picture Book Marathon back in February. On the twelfth night of the marathon, I sat down with the concept and wrote a quick first draft. After the month-long marathon ended, I revised a second draft and decided this particular story was worth exploring further.
Around the same time, I had just agreed to audition with a local childrens writers group. I needed something to share for critiquing, so I emailed off the Word doc of my young manuscript. I was a little nervous. The title was Beetle and the Dung Ball and I wrote the group a little apology for sending a poop book, and that I don't always write about poop, but the timing just worked out that way, and I promise the next book--if they let me come back--won't be a poop book. Nobody cared that it was a poop book. And actually, it's about more than just poop, but I'll get into that next time.
The feedback was generally positive, the group offered some very constructive suggestions, and the story actually sparked some lively debate. This funny little tale of a greedy dung beetle was starting to grow on me. I figured I'd polish the manuscript, research publishers that are interested in picture books about nature and bugs and send it off to the land of slush piles.
Then came the registration notice for the SCBWI Summer Conference. I registered and reserved my hotel room, but I didn't pay for a critique. I've paid for crits at conferences twice before, and both experiences were positive and well worth it. But, I wasn't sure I had any recent work that really warranted the additional cost this time. Then, around my fifth revision of Beetle and the Dung Ball, I started to think I might like to see what an editor or agent thinks of this thing before I submit it for publication. So I paid for a critique. I won't know who my reviewer will be until I show up for the conference August 5th. I don't know if they will be an agent, editor, publisher, writer, or none of the above. Rest assured, I will NOT divulge that person's name or company without consent. But my hope is to eventually report back on some general points from my 20-minute consultation. After that, we'll see if I still believe this poop book is my most publishable work yet... or if Beetle gets squashed.
FOLLOW MY MANUSCRIPT!
Chapter 2: Synopsis & Excerpt