I’m looking for an intern for 15-hours/week for the summer. It would be 5 hours/week at my home office in Long Island, doing light office work, filing, organizing, screening queries, and some Internet research. Then it’s an additional 10 hours/week remotely, where you’ll be reading manuscripts and writing reader reports. I represent authors writing picture books, middle grade, and young adult fiction and nonfiction.
A strong candidate will love reading children’s literature and be comfortable reading across genres. I can offer a $50/week stipend, plus an endless supply of organic, fair trade coffee (help yourself!). You must like dogs (a lot) because I have two of them. Having a sense of humor is important, because we’ll be sitting next to each other for 5 hours. Before applying, please read my past blog posts, so you can see who I am and what I’m about. And familiarize yourself with my clients’ work, so you can see the kind of people and projects I represent. The position runs from June 6th through August 19th, with the possibility of extending through the fall semester, if it works for both of us.
Send a resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 23rd.
Today I want to talk about that thing called motivation, something that might be hard to find when you are feeling defeated, lost or unsettled, like nothing in life is going to work out. Sometimes these times feel insurmountable to me, like I want to crawl into a hole and never come out again. For you writers this might happen while sending out queries, trying to finish up a manuscript or when you get another rejection letter. In these moments, I like to remember there are things I can do to remain motivated. Staying motivated in the face of rejection can be difficult, but I’ve taught myself some little tricks to keep me on track.
- Create a mantra – When I’m feeling particularly unmotivated and sorry for myself, I pick out a mantra. It can be as simple as ‘just be’ or as specific as ‘you can finish this chapter.’ Finding a mantra that works helps in conquering those feelings of defeat.
- Write a goal/gratitude list – Sometimes I forget what I’m doing or why I’m doing it. Getting rejected, not hearing back from anyone, or hitting a road block, are things that can make us forget what we’re doing in the first place. In order to battle those feelings, I make a list to remind myself of the goals I’ve already reached, my hopes and dreams, and what I have in general. These lists help me remember why I’m doing what I’m doing.
- Take a break – Rejection, constant critiquing, or even silence sometimes feel like too much. That’s when I like to take a break. And no, I don’t mean a 6-month hiatus while I wallow in despair. I mean a day or two where I can collect myself, focus on the positive and recharge my battery. If I don’t give myself the time I need to appreciate my end goal, I get bogged down in the rest and forget what I’m doing in the first place.
I recently went through a time where I was questioning what I was doing with my life (ahh!) and I had to take some time to remind myself of my end goal: getting a paying job in publishing. I’m back on track now, and looking forward to the day I borrow Linda’s blog to let you all know about my new job in publishing!
I would love to hear some tips & tricks that you use to stay motivated!
Kimberly Richardson is currently interning for Linda Epstein at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, while pursuing her Masters degree in Pace University’s Publishing Program. She also interns at the National Association of Professional Women. You can follow Kimberly on Twitter @kimberly_ann688.
Today I’m going to talk about an experience I had involving a visit to the “mothership” (that’s what a friend and I lovingly call bookstores). I was learning how to write an editorial letter for a picture book and I discovered *gasp* I had no clue what I was talking about! I realized that my conception of what picture books are was stuck in 1995; lyrical, wordy and beautifully illustrated. Although I do believe classics like The Hungry Caterpillar, The Giving Tree, or Love You Forever will continue to have a place in the market, I had to discover what’s happening in picture books today. Here is what I found:
- Meta is betta – well not so much that it’s better, but a lot of meta picture books are on the bookstore shelves today. There are tons of books about books, books that involve the reader in an engaging journey (think There is a Monster at the End of this Book), books that are introspective and just fun for fun’s sake. I was surrounded by books like Press Here that brought me through the book interactively by pushing colored illustrations, which actually made it feel like I was creating the book as I went along.
- Quirky is where it’s at – I discovered books that were offbeat and outside the box, like What Does the Fox Say. You know, that song by the Norwegian band Ylvis? Yeah, there’s a children’s book about that! I have to say it was great! When I first spotted it, I literally laughed out loud, thinking that it wasn’t going to be anything I would like. But how wrong I was. The Illustrations were so different and entertaining and reading the lyrics was so much fun!
- Morals aren’t for everyone – or they shouldn’t be shoved in the reader’s face while reading. Kids (and I think it’s safe to say adults) don’t want to know they are being taught something while reading. Remember when I said “fun for fun’s sake” like a minute ago? That’s what picture books are about. They might have a lesson, but it isn’t one that is glaring a child in the face saying “look at me, you need to be a good boy/girl!”
- Less is more – There are an abundance of picture books out there that don’t even reach 500 words. They are filled with questions, interactive fun, self-searching queries or just nonsense (remember that fun factor I keep bringing up?). The smaller word count and engaging illustrations create a road to discovery that I think gets lost when there are too many words.
When I left the “mothership” I felt I was able to recognize and better understand where the picture book market is at the moment. Now, I’m not saying you should write to a trend. But do you think it would be wise to write an 1,800 word lyrical picture book? Probably not. It probably wouldn’t sell. However, you should allow yourself to be open to what is out there, recognize what is selling, and still remain true to who you are as a writer. If you do, you will do just fine.
Tell me in the comments below one of your favorite picture books on the market today!