Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tips from a Picture Book Author

Tip of the Day: if you are looking for something creative to do: a camera and a walk in the park to look at all the leaves changing might be just the inspiration you need.

Local picture book author Denise Brennan-Nelson gave a talk at my library last week and shared some tips on her road to publication. Since most of the people in the room were newbies the ideas were mostly refreshers (which I always like hearing): keep an "idea book" on you at all times to jot down ideas and if you believe in your story and want to share it with others than you have to seize every opportunity that comes along that could possibly get you where you want to be.

My favorite piece of advice she gave, however, has to do with knowing when to quit. I think many people in the Awaiting an Agent stage go through this daily. Trying to figure out when to put a book in your drawer. Is it a certain number of agent rejections? A certain number of revisions and then rejections? But basically when do you come to grips with the fact this book isn't going to be published. Or when do we realize that we need to go back to writing instead of being a published writer. Is it a certain number of books that were rejected? Or is it just realizing that not everyone is meant to be traditionally published. Just like not everyone with talent is meant to be an actor. Or a musician. Or a paid artist, etc.

Now if you don't question this all the time, like me, then more power to you. But for the rest of us, here was her piece of advice. It's time to quit when you stop "feeling the dream."

Which I think sums everything up nicely and is a good reminder. I don't think it has to be taken with a writing career, but can be translated as advice for the book you are currently working on. If you no longer believe in your book, I don't think you can persuade others to believe in it. So if that's the case, maybe it's time to find another idea that you can believe in again.

Sometimes it's that simple.

Which reminds me of another favorite piece of writing advice that seems to be everywhere: "a published writer is an amateur that never quit."

Happy Writing everyone.

Emily, Miss Awaiting an Agent


Kate Fall said...

Em, I love your post today. I can't think of anything to add. I just wanted to let you know how much I like it. :)

DeenaML said...

GREAT post. Great insight. That is definitely how I feel about some of my older books. It's like you want them to be The One bc you spent so much time on it -- except when you think about it, you aren't that excited about it anymore.

Liza said...

Well said, I shall have to remember that when I write.

Like Kate mentioned, this post was great. :D

Lisa Schroeder said...

Great post - and a great way of looking at it.

I know the MG that is currently being shopped is much stronger and I am WAY more excited about it then I ever was with the other ones I wrote. I don't know what's going to happen to it, but I WANT the dream for that one. And you're right, that means something.

amuse me said...

Thank you, Emily, for setting up the opportunity for us to listen to and meet Denise Brennan-Nelson. As a motivational speaker, she gave me a fresh look on what I've been working at. Looking forward to the next library event.