I’ve known since I was a kid that I wanted to write a book. I just never knew how to pursue it. So over the decades this idea remained a nebulous notion in the back of my head. A few years ago after the birth of my daughter, I quit my corporate day job to pursue freelance writing and wrote for websites and magazines. It felt so risky, but I knew in my heart this was my path.
The pivotal event that led me to doing something instead of just dreaming about writing a book took place in 2009. I brought my toddler to a reading at a local bookstore. Author Kat Yeh was reading her new book, The Magic Brush. I was thrilled to see an Asian children’s book author as I hadn’t known of any. It gave me hope.
After the reading, I introduced myself and through conversation mentioned I had always wanted to write a book. She encouraged me to attend the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) conference in New Jersey. I attended last year and learned so much from the workshops.
|Making the most of SCBWI NJ: Ryan Sias, Joyce Wan,|
Maria Adcock, and Kat Yeh
Photo: Maria Adcock
Fast forward to the 2012 SCBWI conference. I just came back last night from an inspiring weekend there. While last year I was unsure of myself and looked wistfully at the groups of writers who seemed to have known each other for years, this time was different.
With much more confidence, I socialized with people and recognized many from last year. I made new friends like author/illustrator Ryan Sias and shared a hotel room with Kat Yeh and author/illustrator Joyce Wan who were the coolest roommates. The biggest difference, though, was that this year I was armed with a manuscript.
During the conference, an editor from a New York publishing house critiqued my picture book and offered invaluable advice to make it even stronger. I also gave heart-pounding 5 minute pitches to two agents. Both said they would like me to send them my manuscript.
I’m still a long way from getting published – need to revise, query agents, find one to sign me on, find a publishing house to buy it – the process can literally take years. The mind's logical side reminds me of my naivete by pointing out all the aspiring writers who never got published, but something deep inside me has faith. And if this naive faith is all I have to carry me to the end, then I’ll take it.