March 17, 2008

SCBWI New Jersey Workshop

Several weeks ago, I attended a mentoring workshop through the New Jersey region of
the SCBWI. These mentoring workshops are a really valuable tool for aspiring writers. If you have the opportunity to attend these workshops, or one in your area, I would certainly encourage it. Kudos to Kathy Temean, NJ regional advisor, for coordinating this service. Several editors from various publishing houses attend and critique the writer's manuscript. This is your best chance to get in front of an editor, receive their input and improve the manuscript. It's also an excellent opportunity to network and gather new ideas. It was through a NJ mentoring workshop that my manuscript was acquired. I had submitted the first page of Tonight You Are My Baby for a "first page session". In this session, workshop attendees anonymously submit just the first page of a manuscript. Someone will read the first page aloud and the editors will spend several minutes critiquing the page. I was hesitant to submit Tonight You Are My Baby, as I wasn't sure it was the right forum and it wasn't quite ready. As my editor said later - what a fateful decision! After that reading, an editor from a different publishing house asked me to submit the entire manuscript. It was eventually declined from that house and several months later I attended a mentoring workshop with my editor. She asked me about Tonight You Are My Baby, and in a matter of months I had a contract! Yay! Tip for the day: you never know where your opportunities will arise. But the more you network, and attend workshops, the better your chances of getting published.

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