Today was the first day for my kids to be back at school. I’ve been waiting for this day, not for the break to be over, but for me to be able to get back to my writing. The goal for today was to get a few manuscripts mailed out.
Quick recap: I wrote an easy reader biography about Stephen F. Austin, the man who brought the first American settlers into what later became Texas. He also acted as a go-between for the Mexican government and the settlers when things got tense. He’s known as the Father of Texas, and kindergarteners in Texas have to learn about him in Social Studies.
But guess what? There are no age-appropriate books about him out there. So I wrote one. I submitted it to a few publishers in the last half of 2011, but I decided to hit it hard at the beginning of this year. Over the Christmas break, I researched and compiled a list of a few publishers. It’s by no means exhaustive, but it’s a start. So today, I prepped and sent out 14 query letters. Most went out with a manuscript.
I had no idea mailing out manuscripts would be so messy. Check out my workspace (a.k.a. my living room floor):
Envelopes (2 sizes), postcards & stamps (so the publisher can pop it in the mail when they get my manuscript), address labels (have to look professional), return address labels, manuscripts (I accidentally printed too many), random toy instructions left out from Christmas (because my kids don’t know how to pick anything up), exacto knife and clear ruler so I can cut straight edges on the postcards and address labels (again with the professionalism), master list of addresses, cat’s Angry Bird toy (she doesn’t pick anything else up, either), Clifford audiocasette (?).
I had to wait until the baby was down for her nap before I started this. I knew it would be a production, but I had no idea it would take me two hours just to get everything assembled. Didn’t help that I had to reprint a few of the query letters because I found a typo, then I realized I had printed out proposal letters instead of query letters (would you like to see my book vs. this is my book), so I had to reprint the letters. Then my printer was acting up, so I had to take some of its guts out and clean something with an alcohol swab before it started working again.
I got everything put together in the right order, in the right envelopes, and took the whole she-bang to the post office later this afternoon. One of my resolutions for 2012 is to make at least 52 submissions. I just got 14 out of the way. As Baby Tay would say, “Booyah.”