My Writing Got Messy Today

8 Jan
Stephen F. Austin

Image via Wikipedia

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.”


9 Responses to “My Writing Got Messy Today”

  1. veryVERYbusymom January 8, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    When I have to do this kind of project, I do it in front of the tv watching my favorite recorded show (usually “The Good Wife” or “The Closer”). Then it’s not such a chore. I don’t have much time to watch tv, so the project actually becomes a treat I look forward to.
    Good luck on your manuscript! I hope you get a bidding war from those publishers.

    • That Nolen Chick January 8, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

      Yeah, I watched “Criminal Minds,” then a “CSI” or two as I worked. Felt like it took forever. And wouldn’t a bidding war be nice? Dare I dream that big?

  2. shona January 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    Have you done a book proposal, April? Maybe it’s different with the genre you are working with, but most publishers I’m familiar with prefer not to get an entire manuscript in the very beginning. But, maybe you are working in an area I am not familiar with 🙂

    • That Nolen Chick January 8, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

      Since it’s a children’s easy-reader and only ~1500 words, most of the publishers want the manuscript. There were only two who just wanted a query.

  3. KKSorrell January 8, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    14 submissions and it’s only January 8. Sweet! The submission process takes so much time (I write poetry and other stuff, but poetry is all I’ve submitted to lit mags so far.) Best of luck on your book!

    • That Nolen Chick January 9, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

      Thanks! I kind of feel like I cheated since I did that many at once. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, though.

  4. Stacey January 8, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    Wow, sounds like you’re off running! Good luck!


  1. Curse You, Ion TV! « that nolen chick - February 4, 2012

    […] saw that Criminal Minds was on and decided to watch it while I was assembling my submission packets. That was a mistake. At first I was just intrigued by Reid and Morgan (because they are so nice to […]

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