Fiona was one of the first people I met from the picture book industry so I’m so excited that she’s let me take over her blog today.
I didn’t really know any writers, illustrators, editors or publishers when I first signed with my agent. I wanted to learn from other people’s successes and experiences, so when I heard that there was a Picture Book Club (run by Fiona) just a few miles from my house, I signed up immediately.
My new friends at Picture Book Club quickly suggested that I join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). SCBWI supports writers and illustrators at all stages of their careers which is exactly what I wanted. I went to some of their workshops and events and I treated myself to the annual conference in Winchester. Industry experts looked at my texts, gave me advice, asked for revisions and wanted to see more. I was convinced I’d made it!
Several months later, that elusive book deal still hadn’t come through. I’d read about bidding wars, multiple book deals, book launches and awards – but they always happened to someone else. It seemed that everyone was having success and I was being left behind. It was tempting to switch off from social media, mute my online groups and stop reading The Bookseller. And so, for a while, that’s exactly what I did.
I took some time out. I was still writing but I wasn’t looking over my shoulder to see what everyone else was doing. I wasn’t comparing myself to other people’s successes and finding myself coming up short. I was writing for myself.