American Idol and Conference Critiques

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to audition for American Idol? Wendy Loggia, executive editor with Delacorte Press, said critique day at the Winter Conference in New York was a bit like being an American Idol hopeful.

Personally, I’ve never thought of it in that way, but I can see it now. There we are, pacing in front of the critique room, waiting for the moment when we sit across from an editor, waiting to pitch our manuscript and ideas, waiting for our big break. We’ve put in our time perfecting our craft, and now we’re ready for that golden ticket to the publishing world. All we need is that final YES from the judge – I mean editor.

Back to reality. There are many hopefuls, but few are chosen. Like American Idol, there are those who have real talent. They have a voice that rings clear. Then there are those who show promise, but are not quite ready. And then there are the few who should choose a different path altogether.  

I’ve seen elation and despair resulting from conference critiques. I’ve experienced both. Let’s face it, critiques are nerve-racking. You’re hoping for a glowing review, but you may end up with just the opposite. There are Simon Cowells in every profession! People say not to take rejection personally, but you do. You put your heart and soul into your manuscript, and you were sure it was the next great American novel until it was rejected.

So what do you do when an editor rejects your manuscript? Well, you can leave with your “Pants on the Ground” or you can pick your pants up and start all over again.

Learn from your rejections. Believe in yourself. Write because you love it!

Books on the craft of writing:  Writing Magic:  Writing Stories that Fly by Gail Carson Levine (Collins, 2006), The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books, 3rd Edition by Harold D. Underdown (Alpha, 2008), The Business of Writing for Children by Aaron Shepard (Shepard Publications, 2000), How to Write a Children’s Book and Get It Published by Barbara Seuling (Wiley, 3rd Edition, 2004)

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