June 18, 2009

Vampires, Princesses and Bullies....

You meander into the children's section of your local bookstore. You are surrounded by books about vampires, princesses, wizards and bullies. "Wow," you think to yourself. "These books are the hot sellers. This is what I should be writing." STOP! We have all heard it before, but the thought is difficult to resist when you are struggling with a historical fiction manuscript. At the NJSCBWI conference we heard it straight from the mouths of agents/editors: Do Not Follow A Trend! These books may be popular now, but this is an equation you need to remember: 1 (year to write) + 1 (year to find publisher/agent and contract) + 1 (at least one year if it's a PB to illustrate) = 3 1+1+1= 3 Three years is the approximate number of years before your picture book manuscript will appear on the bookshelves. Guess what? The trend is over. Gone. Completely overdone. Kaput. The answer: write what you love. You will be spending a lot of time with this manuscript. Your passion will shine through. Two good posts on this same subject: Nathan Bransford, agent, Curtis Brown and Tara Lazar, excellent review of agent panel at SCBWI conference.

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