Saturday, January 11, 2020

First Isn’t Always Best

by Jody Feldman

Once upon a time, way back in the dark ages before we all had computers, in a year that started with 19**, I submitted my first book, a picture book based on the neighborhood where I grew up. This was a neighborhood teeming with kids playing one yard game or another, but it also had “mysterious” neighbors, who were the subject of much speculation.

I submitted this book with much hope. It sparkled. It shined. It was good. Then the rejections (multi-plural) came. I eventually did what one does when faced with an exhausted pool of publishers: I shelved that book and moved on.

Not too long after, I realized the concept would work much better as a younger middle grade. I wrote, I submitted, and I received another collection of rejections. (Upon reread, no wonder.)

The idea continued to tug at me, harder and harder, until I no choice but to revisit it. This time, I came at it with more skill and skills and all the things that go into creating a book with voice and mystery and emotional arc.

Currently, this book is in the capable hands of my agent. We’re talking next week. And while I now know that first isn’t always best, I’m hoping that third time’s the charm.

To be continued...

8 comments:

  1. I am so looking forward to the answer to this...I am keeping fingers crossed for this one Jody!

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    1. My agent likes a lot about this book. So I'm hoping with some edits, this one is still a keeper!

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    1. Does half a charm count? The story got my agent's blessing ... with revision. Thanks!

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  3. Good luck, Jody! I love the implicit message here -- one that reflects my own experience--about ideas never really dying, so much as going into temporary storage for another time, another story.

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    1. Years ago, I wrote an MG about a kid who brings a gun to school. Months later, Columbine happened and changed everything. My light-ish MG with that serious underbelly was totally wrong now. But still, there's an element in there that I'll pull out at the right moment. (And maybe I should have saved that story for a full blog post. Ha!)

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  4. (and ps your advice worked -- I switched browsers and got my comment to publish!) tx!

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  5. YES! No manuscript ever has to die in a drawer.

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