What’s one thing that two bears, three yaks, four goats, and six cats have in common?
They hate to share.
But look out—here comes a pack of twenty pigs ready to prove that sharing makes everything twice as fun!
This seriously silly picture book with artwork by the New York Times bestselling illustrator of Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site irresistibly combines the concepts of counting and sharing.
To further celebrate her release, today we’re happy to be a part of Laura’s blog tour! She’s visiting fourteen blogs with different informative essays for each. Here’s a list of her other stops:
- November 1: Booking Mama
- November 5: Friend for the Ride
- November 6: Teach Mentor Texts
- November 7: Picture Books Help Kids Soar
- November 13: As the Eraser Burns
- November 16: Carrie On…
- November 20: Write. Run. Rejoice.
- November 23: The Children’s Book Review
- November 28: Geo Librarian
- December 1: SHARPREAD
- December 3: Susan Heim On Parenting
- December 5: Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)
- December 9: Flowering Minds
- December 13: LibLaura5
For today, Laura has given us some excellent advice about when the time is right to submit your manuscript to a publisher. Grab some coffee and enjoy! 🙂
To send or not to send. That is the question.
by Laura Gehl
We’ve all heard agents say, “Submit only your best, most polished work” and “Rookie writers often submit before the manuscript is ready.” Of course you don’t want to submit your work too early. But waiting too long, obsessing over the same manuscript for years on end, isn’t great either.
So when is your manuscript ready? When is it time to take a deep breath, cross your fingers, and hit SEND?
First, take a look at these Three Quick Yes-Or-No Questions:
- Do you have a critique group? If yes, keep reading. If no, go find a group. Right now. Put your manuscript through the critiquing process, on-line or in person, then come back to this post.
- Have you left your manuscript untouched for at least a few weeks, then picked it up again and reread the entire manuscript out loud? If yes, keep reading. If no, put your manuscript away for a while, and then come back to it with fresh eyes.
- If you are a picture book writer, do you have not one but three polished manuscripts? If yes, keep reading. If no, keep writing. Most agents who like the first PB manuscript you submit will want to see at least two additional manuscripts before signing you. Your job is to make sure you have more top-quality material ready to submit so that you are not tempted to send off a less-polished second or third manuscript when an agent expresses interest in the first (I’ve made that mistake myself).
Once you can say yes to all three questions above, you are truly ready to evaluate your manuscript and decide whether it is time to take the plunge.
Five Clues That You Are Ready To Hit the SEND button:
- Clue #1: When you put your manuscript in a “drawer” for a month, get it out, and read the story again, you are happy with what you’ve created, rather than appalled by typos or plot issues that now seem glaringly obvious.
- Clue #2: When you ask your critique group for feedback on your current draft, everyone says it is ready to go…OR your critique partners still make minor suggestions, but none of them agree about what you should change.
- Clue #3: You keep writing draft after draft, but you can no longer tell if you are making your manuscript better or just making it different. One of my critique partners calls this “rearranging the furniture.”
- Clue #4: When you print out your draft and read the paper version out loud, you don’t notice any typos or hear any clunky parts. I’m serious about the printing. I recently read three drafts of a story, assuming a little black mark on the page was dust on my computer screen. When I finally printed the manuscript, I discovered that little black mark was actually a random comma sitting in the middle of nowhere!
- Clue #5 (for those of you who write in rhyme): When you listen to other people read your manuscript out loud, the rhyme and rhythm sound the way you intended, and the verses flow effortlessly no matter who is reading.
And Three Last Things to Think About:
- Your manuscript does not need to be perfect. I doubt there is such a thing as a perfect manuscript or a perfect book, although Good Night Moon and This Is Not My Hat come pretty darn close.
- Your agent will likely suggest some changes before the manuscript gets sent to editors. Once you sell the book, your editor will probably suggest some more changes before the book gets published. So again, your manuscript absolutely does not need to be perfect before you send it off. Just fabulous and irresistible.
- After reading this post, if you think your manuscript is ready, you are probably right. So do it. Hit send. Then go eat some chocolate…and get back to writing. It’s time to work on the next book.
Laura Gehl is the author of One Big Pair of Underwear, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, which released in September and was an Amazon Best Book of the Month for ages 3-5 in October. Laura is also the author of several upcoming picture books: Hare and Tortoise Race Across Israel (Kar-Ben 2015); And Then Another Sheep Turned Up (Kar-Ben 2015); Peep and Egg: I’m Not Hatching (FSG 2016); and Peep and Egg: I’m Not Trick or Treating (FSG 2016). Laura lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with her husband and four kids. You can visit her online at www.lauragehl.com and www.facebook.com/AuthorLauraGehl.