Blind Date Jitters

Dear AgentI feel like I just mailed a love note. And now I want to crawl into the post office box to get it back.

It’s that time of year again, the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) conference season in the Midwest. Many of us children’s book writers and illustrators are frantically polishing treasured stories for a manuscript review. In return, we’ll receive feedback to improve our work.

Critique reviews also provide a prime networking opportunity. We try to bring our best to the table in an attempt to knock agents and editors–or experienced critiquers who know agents and editors–off of their feet. Usually, we’ve never met our manuscript reviewer before. We just know he/she hangs out on a pedestal.

The submission process feels awkward, like sending a love letter to a blind date in hopes of compatibility. It’s extremely humbling, yet stocked with hopeful anticipation and romantic notions of finding the one who will find extraordinary worth in us and our work.

Though some writers and illustrators may not admit it, our secret hope is that the agent or editor will say, “Where have you been? I’ve been looking for you all of my life. Will be my client? I must represent you and only you. Is this seven figure contract enough to seal our bond?”

Luckily I specialize in fiction.

I probably should look into fantasy.

Anyway, for all of you SCBWI Conference-wooers: Don’t lose your nerve! Step away from the post office box. You’re not a delusional stalker–really. (Okay, well some of us are.)

Incidentally, the Minnesota SCBWI Conference will be held October 12-13, followed by the Iowa SCBWI Conference, October 18-20. I’m cheering for some lucky agent/editor to find the one in you.

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