Thursday, April 5, 2007

Paying It Forward

I met a real nice gal at a writer's conference a couple of weeks ago. She was new to kidlit, and it was the first conference she'd ever been to. We sat together, exchanged some talk and have sent a few emails back and forth. She gave her mid-grade novel to one of the editors for a paid critique and he seemed to like it. Well, long story short, he called yesterday and offered her a deal. Things like that don't just happen - not in real life. Am I happy for her? Yeah. Am I impressed at how quickly it all happened? Yeah. I'm I jealous? Hell yeah.

So what do I do? Do I curse and stomp my feet? Do I retreat to my office with an entire bag of Dove chocolate and a week's worth of Tivo'd What Not to Wears? No. I hook her up with my agent, because that is the way the world of kidlit works. It is not the cutthroat world of competitive writers that you might imagine. There is a lot of "paying it forward", mentoring and general niceness that probably doesn't exist in most professions. Kidlit writers are genuinely happy to see others making it and doing well. We're not angels, so sometimes it's tough not to be selfish, but I genuinely hope that my new friend HM signs with my agent, gets a great deal and then takes me out for coffee.

In other news, Agent E liked my proposal for the picture book biography I want to do. She's going to start sending it around and we'll see who else likes it. I'm at a standstill with Triplets right now because I need to talk to the cops. Well, one cop actually; a friend of mine so that I can get the details of the arrest procedure for a particular felony. The girls are getting into a spot of trouble I'm afraid.

On this date: In 1994, Kurt Cobain committed suicide.


Linda D. said...

I am still always amazed with the generosity of kid lit writers. That's great what you did.

It's okay to feel a little jealous, too. What she managed to accomplish is something the rest of us can only dream about. Lucky girl. :) It's the people like her who make the rest of the world not believe us when we say how difficult this business is. We're just not be very good writers, right? lol

Natalie said...

What a nice story, Cyn! I'll admit I'm green right along with you, but at the same time it is a hope booster, isn't it?
:-) Natalie

cynjay said...

The only saving grace in this is that she writes in a different genre, so I just keep repeating that to myself.

When I was starting, I had a great mentor who was instrumental in selling my first picture book. You have to pay it forward.