My First Manuscript
It's a children's nonfiction book about larvae: from cute caterpillars to gross maggots...although that's in the eye of the beholder. Johnny once saw a maggot in our basement...I mean, somebody else's basement...and said, "Aww. It's so cuuuute."
I've always been fascinated by how insects change so drastically. And scientists think this metamorphosis offers clues to how interspecies evolution occurs. I left that out of the story, though. Too complicated. Just because it's a bedtime story doesn't mean I should try to put the kids to sleep.
Now, I just need an editor and lots of other people in a publishing house to like it.
Authors say that sending a manuscript out is like casting a bottle into the sea. They also say things like, "Writing is easy. All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead."* Could writers be anymore frickin' melodramatic?
I think mailing out a manuscript more like throwing the story into the fireplace and hoping the ashes reach Mary Poppins, who happens to be flying by on her umbrella, magically restores the paper and delivers it to an editor who at that instant is saying, "If only somebody would send me a larvae story!"
But that's just me. I'm an optimist.
I guess the careers of many writers go like this:
1. You send out a manuscript.
2. It gets rejected for several years.
3. You write another book, which is also rejected.
4. By this time, you've become a pretty good writer, having had plenty of time to hone your craft. Your third book gets accepted. Unfortunately, you have starved to death by this point.
No, I'm kidding about that last part. But I do think I have something going for me that not all writers have: poverty. It's a wonderful motivator. Well, that's exaggerating. But this is my career. I depend on writing to make money.
When I hear writers say, "I don't do it for the money; I just do it for fun," I can't relate to that. If I didn't need money, I'd be a freelance T.V. watcher, not a writer. Don't get me wrong. I love writing. But have you watched television lately? It's outstanding. Even ABC Family has some great original shows, such as Greek, a show about a sorority and fraternity. I watch it while folding laundry. Whereas most viewers watch it while doing their homework.
Not that I expect to get rich. But it is a business. And to that end, I've done what the professional Web sites tell me: join a critique group. Research publishers. Go to conferences. Talk to people. (Now, that last one I'm not sure about. I don't know that meeting people face-to-face helps my cause any. I'm a nice person. But I'm not a mingler. I don't think anyone, after meeting me, has said, "I'll be sure not to spit my gum out in her business card."
Anyway, I digress. The manuscript is out there. Please pray for its safe arrival at somebody's warm doorstep.