As someone who is really new to the writing for profit industry I thought I'd take some time on Thursdays just to talk about what I have learned or am learning that has helped me understand things better. For week one I thought it pertinent to go over resources I use diligently.
This summer I forced myself to finish a manuscript and write consistently(ish.) I felt extremely accomplished to be able to hold something I'd finished in my hands. Now what? Where did I go from there? No idea. Literally none. I picked up a copy of Writer's and Illustrator's Guide to Children's Book Publishers and Agents. It explained a query letter. But who would I send it to? The listings in that book are over 100 pages long and in alphabetical order. My favorite irrelevant to me listing was a publishing house that listed itself as a children's book publisher for the gay, lesbian, and bi community. A close second was a press that focused on Hawiian and Pacific Rim themes. So it was good to have an example of a query letter and know what one was, but I wasn't going through all of those listings one by one. So now what?
Here are two resources a friend gave me that have been tremendous:
The left side box Labeled, "The Essentials" are a nuts and bolts breakdown of the author to book process. Not only did I feel like I finally had some direction when I had finished reading those posts, I had fun reading them.
This resource is more amazing the more I look into it. There are two parts. The main website is a place to search for agents in your genre. Once you have your search field there is almost a spreadsheet like format where you can mark that you've picked the agent to query to, set a reminder date for check in, write comments about what you sent or any other submission guidelines, and save a copy of the query you sent to that agent. The agent listings also have side tabs with comments users can make about submissions and replies, stat reports of responses to rejections, clients lists so you can see the kind of people they are working with, and general contact info. There are more features if you get premium for $25 a year. That is just part one...
The second part is the forum under the resource tab. You have to sign up separately but both are free. The forum is a community that will look over your query, first 5 pages, and synopsis. They are really helpful and also honest. There are also forums to post blog links and discuss any aspect of the writing process you can think of.
These are the two main sites that have gotten me to the querying process. If you have any others to share throw me a comment.