Finding a Publisher

Now, the tricky thing about having my book published, well one of the tricks, is finding a publisher. There are so many publishers just in the US!! However, for my stories, the list is narrowed to children's book publishers, fiction, and publishers who take manuscripts from writers without agents.

I've re-checked out a book from the library entitled "2011 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market," Alice Pope, Editor. It's a nearly overwhelming book full of information on book publishers, magazines, agents, conferences, workshops, contests, etc. It also has some information on what makes a good children's book. It's fabulously helpful. In the back are some happy indexes just waiting to be cross-referenced.

I will look in the Age-Level Index. Where does The Toilet Monster fit in? "Picture Books and Picture-Oriented Material are for preschoolers to 8-year-olds;Young Readers are for 5- to 8-year olds..." Is it a Young Reader or a Picture Book? There are about 140 publishers listed under each age group. I need to figure it out. Maybe reading a few publisher descriptions will help clear things up. So that will bring it from 280 to 140 publishers.

I will cross-reference the publishers of the age groups, to the subject index. Adventure? Animal? Fantasy? That should narrow it down more.

I will read the description of the publishers, and cross them off if an agent is needed. I'll make sure my story would be something they'd be interested in. Happy, sigh, another narrowed down list. With that list, I'll search what they've previously published. Do they have books that are in the style that I envision mine to be? Are they too conservative for a book that is set in the bathroom?

I'm sure I can find a publisher who would be thrilled to read my story. Aren't you excited?! You get to be here when I get the news of acceptance or rejection! What happens if my story is rejected, you ask? Well, I review any helpul information the publisher might send with the big, fat, no. Then I will send out my story to the next publisher on the list.

Oh, and what if the first publisher sends it back wanting to publish my story? I will say, 'thank you please send me the contract.' Don't worry, I'll read the fine print. (After I stop jumping around in my gleeful happy dance.)


I feel that my vocabulary has shrunk significantly. The words in my brain felt neglected, so the poor things slipped out my ears as I was sleeping these past years, and I haven't put any back in to replace them!

I'm excited to be reading more books lately, and that seems to be helping, but it's only as I happen upon them and look up their definition. I thought I might boost the progress a bit. I found my old Vocabulary for the College-Bound Student from my high school English class the other day. I'm going to start from the beginning of the workbook, and slowly but surely learn a heap of words. Good 'ol Mister Stott.  ;)

I believe the vocabulary workbook to be a better approach than darting at a dictionary. The words are grouped for the purpose of learning them. I'm hesitant though. I've had nightmares of not finishing the workbook pages and having to repeat high school because I failed English. I suppose I'll be able to see what I really accomplished. Maybe the nightmares will subside. With a smile on my face I begin!

First word: ameliorate (v.) become better; make better; improve (ant. worsen) Ha, what smart publishers.

Use in a sentence: I expect my vocabulary will ameliorate by leaps and bounds with consistent study in this three hundred page workbook!

The Toilet Monster Update

I've been working on The Toilet Monster for some time now. I thought I'd share some of it with you to give you a taste. When published it would be fully illustrated, so imagine some awesome pictures with a fun-loving nature...

The Toilet Monster

Last week, my friend told me about the monster in the toilet. He said it hides when you’re going, then it attacks you when you flush! He said you have to flush and run!

“Watch out for it, Sam!” he told me. “The monster is stinky, slimy, huge, and green with ugly yellow eyes. It has big sharp teeth and hides in the pipes. It comes out right after the water whooshes!” he said. He’s four months older than me, so he must know.

I tried it out later that day. I flushed and ran away as fast as I could! The monster didn’t catch me! I figured he must be right, so every time I flushed, I ran. It worked pretty well all week.

Today I told my big brother, Anthony, about the monster and how it hides in the pipes and comes out after the whoosh. After all, I didn’t want him to be attacked!

“Have you ever seen it?” he asked.

“No!” I exclaimed, “That’s why I’m still alive!”

“Alright, calm down, Sam.” he said. “Sam, if it’s so big, then how can it fit through the pipes in the toilet?” he asked.

“Well, it shrinks to fit in the pipes, and then when it comes out to attack it gets huge again.” I said.

Then Anthony asked, “If it lives inside the toilet, how does it breathe?”

I hadn’t thought about that. I said, “I don’t know, but it must have gills like a fish, or something.”

“Before anyone told you about a monster, did one ever try to eat you after you flushed the toilet?” he asked.

I thought about it. “Well, no. Maybe he just moved into the neighborhood?” I suggested weakly.

I sighed. I wasn’t sure if there was a monster or not. I decided I needed to know. I moved closer then looked back hoping Anthony would tell me to stop, but instead, he motioned to do it. Flush the toilet. I stood in front of the toilet. I looked at the water. Maybe there wasn’t a monster, but if there was, I’d be eaten alive.

Well, there you have it! Will Sam survive the flushing?? Will his brother's name still be Anthony next week's revisions? You'll have to stay tuned to find out!

Balance With 10 Minutes

I feel I'm beginning to find some balance between the responsibilities I have in my home and writing stories. I'll be working on my stories for at least 10 minutes a day. I know it doesn't sound like much, but it's like cleaning a room for 10 minutes. I decide to clean a mirror, after it's clean, I wipe a spot off the wall, then I clean the floor, then take out the garbage. That's how it is for writing. I can stop after 10 minutes if I need to, but I need to dedicate time otherwise, laundry will rule the day.

By the end of this month I plan to send my manuscript or letter for "Toilet Monster" to a publisher. I've tweaked it once again, and I'm feeling significantly more confident. It's exciting and at the same time I am feeling like a very, very small fish in a very, very big pond.

I have found I don't want to label myself just yet. It might be fun to write for an older audience too. It's time for experimentation! Here's a part of tonight's "10 minutes":

I used to have the same dreams about once a month; witches that hunt me, a flood whirling around my house boat, alligators that bite off my legs, an anonymous dark figure who watches everything I do while I’m oblivious. I figured everyone has crazy dreams. I never thought in all my wildest dreams, that they were premonitory.

Maybe I'll continue that story in my next 10 minute session. Happy reading!