Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Deborah Halverson: DW 2.5

Deborah Halverson: DW 2.5 

Submissions Studio: Writing Queries, Strategizing Submissions, and 10 Ways to Translate “No” to “Yes!” 

Deborah Halverson knows the kid lit submissions process all too well. Beginning her career at Harcourt, and moving on towards becoming an author herself, she is now a freelance editor with her own business called Deareditor.com. When prompted to do this workshop, it was no surprise that Deborah would knock us off our feet with actionable steps both experienced and beginner writers can take when tackling the submissions process.

It all begins with a hook. A one-sentence description of your story. This implies your story’s fresh approach, marketability, and audience. Introduce your character, state your theme, assert your core plot conflict or goal, and add context. Max: 45 words. She advises against books to film; you want to show that you’re well versed in the market of children’s books. “When you’re writing, we tell you show don’t tell. When you’re writing a query letter, tell -- don’t show.”

A bulk of the presentation included tangible tips for writers to practice when receiving editorial feedback from agents and editors. Sometimes, writers receive feedback that may be perceived as "too general" and become overwhelmed, to the point of not knowing how to fix their project or proceed. This is where Deborah's advice comes in handy (see below slides). 

Halverson suggests giving agents a month to six weeks before checking in -- “a nudge email”
“I submitted on [this date] - I’m just checking in… I’m continuing to submit elsewhere, but I’m hoping this manuscript struck a chord with you.”

Remember: Setting your manuscript aside is not putting it away. “Setting it aside is your way to deal with it emotionally,” Halverson reminds us. A lot of writers will tell you that their first book sold was not their first book written. As Lin reminds us with a quote by the great Sid Fleischman: "Nothing is wasted in writing but the paper." 

Until next Digital Workshop, children's book lovers! 
Avery Silverberg
(@a.very.fast.reader on IG/@averyfastreader on Twitter) 

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