What kind of research did you do before submitting?
You write in rhyme, and we always hear that agents and editors don’t want rhyming manuscripts. How did you break that particular barrier?
The dreaded questions: How many queries? How many rejections?
How did you know your agent was “the one?”
She seemed really excited about my stuff. We’d gone back and forth quite a bit, and in the process, she had read numerous manuscripts of mine. Her suggestions to me were eye-opening, and based on her feedback I was really able to take the stories to the next level. Basically, it felt like a reciprocal relationship. She also made me all warm and fuzzy inside, and both our names started with T, and the bio on her website quoted a song that I had written a picture book version of, and…ok….you get the point! She was IT!
Has your writing process changed since signing with an agent?
We sometimes hear that picture book writers don’t really need an agent. What do you think the advantages are of having an agent?
What’s up next/what are you working on now?
More rhyming picture books…and, a middle grade I continue to tinker with. And by tinker with, I mean attempt to begin.
What advice would you give to picture book writers looking for agents today?
Do NOT rush to get something out to an agent you met at a conference or a dinner, because you think that while you are fresh in their mind, you should send something to them NOW NOW NOW. Just wait. Polish, tweak, edit, send through a critique group you trust, read it aloud, have friends (non-authors) read it aloud TO you….edit some more, tweak, revise, polish. Then put it away for a week, and DON’T peek at it. Then reread it with a clear head, and if you are certain it is the best piece of work you can possibly offer up, submit it.
This is SUCH great advice, and what I hear consistently from agents too.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Favorite book of 2010 (any genre)
This is cheating, but I’m gonna go with a favorite that I read in 2010. It was published in 2008, and it’s Zorgamazoo, by Robert Paul Weston. BEYOND.
Tiffany, thank you so much for sharing your story with such good humor! I look forward to celebrating the launches of THE MONSTER WHO LOST HIS MEAN and OLLIE AND CLAIRE!!
**If you are a picture book writer with an agent or an agent with picture book writer clients and would like to be featured in this series, please email me at jhedlund33 (at) yahoo (dot) com.