Wednesday, February 16, 2011

You Gotta Blog Before You Can Author

My journey to getting an offer on my manuscript was long and, if I'm being completely honest here, a little droning. That's why I've decided to try and chop it up into these (hopefully) vastly entertaining chunk-sized bits of goodness. Otherwise known as blog posts. Fine, I'll take anything from less boring to mildly more fascinating than watching that third layer of floor varnish dry.

Anyhoo, one of these (fingers-crossed) less boring bits involves how I piqued my editor's attention. The set-up: my agent was shopping around another manuscript of mine. A few editors were interested enough to give me some very nice encouragement and some constructive feedback. And one of these editors mentioned that although she didn't love the manuscript, she did really like my blog.

Once upon a time, I had a humor blog. It had nothing to do with children's books or writing, and everything to do with how insane I thought Times Square was. I worked there, you see, and because I was going into the mouth of ludicrousness day in and day out, I just found it an easy topic to riff on. By day, I was writing web copy, by night I was writing novels and, believe it or not, somewhere in between, I felt like I needed a comedy outlet. Mainly, I was hoping to entertain a few of my friends and mostly, I was looking to entertain myself.

When my agent asked me for a bio that she could send out to prospective editors, I stuck the URL of the blog in there. I figured that it was decent writing and that I was updating it pretty frequently so why not. Even though there was some language in there that would, most definitely, have no place in a children's book. I am, of course, talking about the four-letter one-two punch of...Fake Elmo.

Anyway, to make a short part of a long story short (too late!), my now-editor did not love my first manuscript, but she did love (or strongly esteem, as I feel a certain Ms. Jane Austen would say) the voice and humor of my blog. And it just so happened that I had another piece that fit in very, very nicely with that voice. So within a year, and a few other stepping stones, presto-chango, book offer!

I think what I ended up taking away from all this is that things starting happening for me - on the publishing end - when I stopped focusing so hard on it. I'm a Type-A personality, but it was crucial for me to realize that there was very, very little I could control. But the very, very little I could control was how well I could try to write my stories. So I wrote a few of those, rewrote them each several dozen more times and - most importantly - wrote for the sake of writing. That's exactly what that blog was.

Thanks, blog. I owe you one.


  1. Fake Elmo is still waiting for his dollar...

  2. all this is that things starting happening for me - on the publishing end - when I stopped focusing so hard on it.

    I know what you mean! Only when I'm okay with *not* getting something do I ever seem to get it. Very cool that your humor blog ended up paying off in a huge and unexpected way.