This is Ana Crespo's official blog.

I don't blog often. Most of what is going on in my career can be found through my official FB page and official Twitter account. But, every once in a while you will find something interesting in here. For more information about me and my work, visit my official website. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How I Got a Book Deal (part 1)

Okay, it is time to share with all my three blog followers out there how I got a book deal…

If you read this blog from its very beginning, you will see it wasn’t always a pleasant ride. In fact, it was often sad, frustrating, and purely depressing. However, I can’t complain. It was a very instructive time and fully worth it.

It started with some manuscripts (pitiful ones, if you ask me) and the discovery that there was a conference happening in Denver. It was the 2012 RMC SCBWI Conference. I registered immediately and got ready… I printed my manuscripts, several copies of each. I made a business card. And, believe it or not, I developed a portfolio with synopses of all my stories. Over the top, huh? But I did it.

I loved the conference. Even though I thought I was going to have a heart attack during the 'first-page' session. Even though  I learned that writers were not supposed to develop portfolios and cried over the $50 I had spent. Even though I had a speaker mention that the answer to my question could be easily found online.  And even though I was called by my full (6 words) name in front of every single conference attendee.  Yes, at times, I wished I were invisible.

On the other hand, I attended several wonderful writing sessions. The most helpful to me at that moment was Sylvie Frank’s presentation. At the time, Sylvie was an editor at Holiday House. She talked about the plot and her example was so visual and so easy to follow… I still keep it close to me when I am writing, as a reminder of what I am trying to accomplish.

Still, my manuscripts were, obviously, politely rejected without any explanations. Well, except for Emily Clement’s reply. Emily was one of the presenters during the conference.  As a conference attendee, I could submit two manuscripts for her review. And she was wonderful! It was still a polite rejection, but a rejection with material that allowed me to review my work and improve it. If you ever have a chance to attend a conference in which Emily is a faculty member, do it! She is an assistant editor at Arthur E. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic.

So, I continued writing. I submitted to agents, to editors, to several places, and I received a collection of rejections. In fact, I can tell you exactly how many, because I keep a close track of everything I submit. Overall, I submitted 13 manuscripts and got 44 rejections, including no responses (in less than a year). Finally, I submitted The Sock Thief manuscript to an agent, who requested more material. I was in heaven! And, then, she rejected my material, saying The Sock Thief had potential, but the other stuff lacked a plot. She was right.

I continued to write, though I was not as enthusiastic about it anymore. I made a decision that I would wait until the 2013 RMC SCBWI Conference, in Denver, and then I would decide if I should continue trying or not. I was probably the first person to sign up for the conference, so I had the opportunity to register for the manuscript critique and for the Sunday workshop. I could not have done anything better for my career as a writer…

Find out why on my next post!

(Now, read part 2.)

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