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I put some hope into the mail today

Thanks again to all my LJ friends for your friendship and support! I'd like to start contacting agents again, but plan to wait until I can perfect a query letter - they never seem to come out just right. Part of me wants to hold off until I receive a contract offer or a manuscript goes into acquisitions - or possibly until I receive a revision request or two. I've received personals, but no revision requests yet. I have to admit that I'm torn - I've been doing everything possible to get my writing career going, and it can be frustrating sometimes. At least I feel like I'm constantly moving forward, sometime slowly, other times in leaps and bounds. I know I'll get there - it's just a question of when.

I just dropped submissions for my newly polished picture book manuscript PLEASE DON'T EAT MY GUINEA PIG in the mail. I love the feeling of hope with each additional manuscript that makes it into circulation. Thank you to my wonderful critique groups for helping me get my manuscript ready - and a few special friends who assisted me with my cover letter. You're the best :-)

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( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 12th, 2005 06:26 pm (UTC)
Oh, I love that hopeful feeling of sending out a manuscript, too. My fingers are crossed for you. Hope you hear some good news soon. The title "Please Don't Eat My Guinea Pig" rocks.
Dec. 12th, 2005 06:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks Cyn. It definitely feels great! I'm glad I held this one back as long as I did though. Every time I thought I was done, I found something that could be improved (or cut), or a critique buddy pointed out something.

The title still makes me giggle. It was inspired by my Siberian Husky's reaction when my daughter was given a guinea pig last year. I really thought my dog was going to sneak a furry snack. If you check my first journal post, you'll see a picture of them together. My daughter was sitting outside the camera range just in case, but the dog really did seem okay - she was just curious and wanted to be close to the guinea pig. Whew! And that little guy shows no fear - he'll stick his nose right up to the end of the cage, nose to nose with one of my curious dogs.
Dec. 12th, 2005 06:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's so cute! A very brave guinea pig!

And I love hearing how people come up with their ideas.

One of our dog's toys from the shelter was a big ball, covered in fur, that looked like an animal. He's the gentlest thing in the world, but one day we found him outside, playing with a tiny bunny-- he was throwing it up in the air because he thought it was his toy. Poor Bunny. As a pet toy, I do not recommend ANYTHING that looks like a real animal!
Dec. 12th, 2005 06:55 pm (UTC)
Geesh! Mental note to self (if I ever get a dog!).
Dec. 12th, 2005 07:05 pm (UTC)
Oh my! I always keep away from furry dog toys, but only because I thought it encouraged the dogs to go after stuffed animals. Didn't work because my 1 year old pup destroys everything - we have quite a collection ranging from a one-eyed frog to a headless tiger. I never even thought about it encouraging a dog to go after a live animal! Oh my! Any chance the bunny got away?
Dec. 12th, 2005 07:35 pm (UTC)
Oh yes, I have quite a collection of rugs that my dog chewed the corners off of when he was a puppy. I wasn't around at the time of the bunny incident, but I heard he didn't make it. I'm sooo glad I wasn't there! Killing a little baby bunny...might as well kill Santa Claus or Bambi.
Dec. 12th, 2005 08:13 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you weren't there for the bunny incident either. Poor little thing.

My 1 year old pup destroys everything. She ate my daughter's flip flop last night. There's a huge chunk missing. She also loves Polly Pockets and other dolls (I find feet, hands, etc. scattered around my house), goes into the garbage and shreds tissues, wrappers, etc. She even ate part of my bed and some of the crown molding that's near the floor(and we have a new, freshly painted house)!

After your story, I really have to be careful she doesn't add guinea pig to her list of casualties!
Dec. 12th, 2005 08:20 pm (UTC)
LOL.... then you can write Part II: "Too Late. He Ate My Guinea Pig". However, that one would probably have kids crying out in fear, rather than smiling :-)
Dec. 12th, 2005 06:46 pm (UTC)
Fingers crossed that your guinea pig helps you to get that first contract!
Dec. 12th, 2005 06:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks Stephanie! If that happens, you can bet my daughter's cute little furball will be surrounded by every guinea pig treat I can get my hands on!
Dec. 12th, 2005 06:54 pm (UTC)
LOL! I guess so! :D
Dec. 12th, 2005 07:00 pm (UTC)
Oo, I have my fingers crossed for you! I'm glad you're waiting- a part of me wishes I hadn't sent so many queries at once, since the mss has gotten so much better that the samples in the original queries I sent. Good luck!
Dec. 12th, 2005 07:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks :-) Don't worry about sending too many queries at once - there are plenty of agents out there. You haven't submitted to editors yet, have you? There's even more editors than agents - and once you get a contract offer, it's much easier to land an agent. By the way, if you've made extensive revisions, you may be able to contact an agent again.

Besides, your track record for partials and manuscript requests has been great! I've been extremely conservative with agents. When I first started attending conferences a year ago, I submitted exclusives, but tired of that fairly quickly. I only have one exclusive out now - and it's been 5 months. I was going to make a list of 4 editors to send PLEASE DON'T EAT MY GUINEA PIG, but ended up with 6. That's the most I've ever sent at one time. I'll see how it goes. One of the editors was noted as having over a year response time on Verla's boards, so I don't feel too guilty.
Dec. 12th, 2005 07:24 pm (UTC)
It's awesome that you sent it out! If you have this much confidence in your manuscript, chances are good that this one'll get published! Just keep trying no matter what! It'll happen--I know it! :) And you were such a good influence on me, that I'm sending out my Can I Drive That? PB to Henry Holt. :)
Dec. 12th, 2005 08:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you decided to send out CAN I DRIVE THAT? Holt is one of the houses I submitted to also. Are you sending it to any specific editor? RS was at the NY conference last year, and says her inner child is older (somewhere between 8 and 11). If you're using a specific name, I'd send to KF.

Since Holt changed their policy, you don't have to submit an exclusive anymore. What about Penguin? In NY last year SK was there and said that she was looking for younger PB's 500 words or less. It might have changed during the year - but it's worth a shot!

Good luck - keeping my fingers crossed for you!
Dec. 12th, 2005 08:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Mindy. :) This one is 620 words, but I suppose I could take out 120 words... I just sent the one to Henry Holt as "Dear Editor."
P.S. I'm sorry, who is the editor SK? I don't think Penguin takes unsolicited manuscripts....
Dec. 12th, 2005 09:13 pm (UTC)
Sorry, I meant G.P. Putnam's Sons - I always think Penguin Putnam when I think of them. They do take unsolicited PB's - SK is Susan Kochan. I believe she's had a promotion since CWIM - I can check my files if you want. I think it was from senior editor to executive editor, but I'm not 100% that's the exact title. Oops, just noticed that the book version says accepts simultaneous submission for queries only, but the online version just says they accept them.

As long as the manuscript is under 1000 words, it should be okay, and if it needs to be cut, that can happen later. Like I said, it was a year ago, so her preferred range might have changed.

Good luck with your submissions!
Dec. 12th, 2005 09:19 pm (UTC)
Awesome info! Thanks, Mindy!
Dec. 12th, 2005 10:33 pm (UTC)
You're welcome!
Dec. 12th, 2005 09:32 pm (UTC)
Love the title! Much luck to you!
Dec. 12th, 2005 10:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Dec. 13th, 2005 01:22 am (UTC)
Good luck Mindy!

My fingers are crossed that Please Don't Eat My Guinea Pig will be the one that gets your foot in the door.

Dec. 13th, 2005 02:54 am (UTC)
Thanks Sharon - and thanks for those last minute catches!
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )


Mindy's head shot
Mindy Alyse Weiss
I write humorous middle-grade novels with heart and quirky picture books.

I'm an Administrator on the SCBWI Blueboard, the FL SCBWI Newsletter Editor and Critique Group Coordinator, and a proud member of From The Mixed Up Files...of Middle-Grade Authors

I've been married for twenty years and have two beautiful daughters, an adventurous Bullmasador adopted from The Humane Society, and an adorable Beagle/Pointer mix pup who was rescued from the Everglades.

I've been published in Highlights three times and placed in the 80th Writer's Digest Competition.


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