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Agent news that makes me go "EEP!"

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P-doc appointment successful, except I saw a P-nurse practitioner. But I'm actually happier at how it worked out. She refilled my prescription and then put me into a "med group" for future refills which is free, so I don't have to fork out those doctor visit follow-up co-pays just to keep me in scripts. Nice.

   

Writing Stuff


Eep. Better make that EEP!! I just got an email from my agent with two bits of news:
1. An extremely glowing and encouraging rejection from Harcourt on my middle-grade novel which included such lines such as "I honestly couldn't put it down," "It brings to mind the classic Jonathan Livingston Seagull and The Education of Little Tree," and "I'm certain that this story will make its mark somewhere." All really, really nice to my battered writer's ego, but still, a "no." Moving on.
2. An email from another publishing house--a major one--asking me if I'd be willing to convert my middle-grade novel into a picture book for them to consider. Not one of those 10-page picture book dealies, but a "sophisticated picture book reader."

On the one (big, hugely gigantic) hand, Woohoo! But on the other, it's still not a sale by any stretch. And, erm, I'm very unfamiliar with picture book format and style--having written none of them. Although I did research and then block a couple of my folktales into picture books as an exercise, so I'm not totally loose and dangling.

Then there's the stupid hand (yes, I know that gives me three--I can be a three-armed mutant if I want), that being that I really, really love my novel. I think it's beautiful, something I'm extremely proud to have written, one of my best works to date. And I am fully aware how idiotic that complaint is. If I turn my novel into a picture book, it doesn't take away from the original non-picture book, and I'm not one of those writers who beats their breast and wails about the "integrity of their art." I'm unemployed and my health insurance is running out. I need to sell that manuscript.

Still, there is freaking out happening--both the ecstatic and the quietly imploding variety.

Obviously, I'm going to do the intelligent thing, research the format of "sophisticated picture book readers" and see what picture books these folks have published in the past, and email back my agent to see if I can't get some guidelines. Then, after I finish my quiet little freak out, I'm going to get to work. 'Sides, they might decide "that girl can write, but she sure as heck can't write picture books" and I'll be back to where I am now.

And, there's always still a chance another publisher will snap it up. But being a realistic sort, I won't be holding my breath for that to happen.


Editing/New Words:
1300-words on a novel I put down end of last year. Made excellent progress with ideas galore, but it looks like I'm going to put it down again.


Club 100 For Writers
      6

500/day
      8

I'm feeling:
Stewing in my own brain juices
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On February 21st, 2006 06:17 pm (UTC), shawn_scarber commented:
Congratulations. This sounds to me like good news on both fronts. Personally, I think sophisticated picture books are cool, especially if you get teamed up with a good illustrator.
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On February 21st, 2006 08:18 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Thanks! I think it sounds cool too, but I'm waiting until I get the editor's notes. This is whole thing is so totally out of my experience . . . *gulp*
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On February 21st, 2006 06:17 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Is this the one with the fellow who comes back as a badger? Because I still remember that one and loved it. Made me all sniffly and such.

I don't know a lot about the format, but it seems you would be working with an artist...sounds like fun. As a comic/graphic novel wanna-be, I'm a bit biased, but I think telling a story with words *and* pics is terribly difficult.

Hope it all works out. Would love to be buying a copy in whatever format...

Pat Kirby
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On February 21st, 2006 08:22 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
That's the one, yep. I'm in love with the idea of having some really lush illustrations to go with that story, but I'm quaking at the idea of squishing it down to what I normally think of as picture book length. And I don't know if I'd get to work with the illustrator at all. From what I've heard, the illustration and writing sides are generally pretty separate, although it would indeed be cool if I'd get to provide input.

. . . man I'm jumping the gun even thinking about that. *gleep*
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On February 21st, 2006 06:19 pm (UTC), jaylake commented:
"Eep" indeed. This is how the cool stuff happens.
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On February 21st, 2006 08:26 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
And the way overwhelming stuff!
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On February 21st, 2006 06:32 pm (UTC), kittymel commented:
RE: #1. WOW! ;-) *happy dance, happy dance, happy dance!*
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On February 21st, 2006 08:26 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Thanks!
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On February 21st, 2006 08:33 pm (UTC), kittymel replied:
that really was a wonderful review ;-)
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On February 21st, 2006 06:34 pm (UTC), faerie_writer commented:
Wow, that's all really positive news on your manuscript! Making your story in a picture book, though, doesn't bar it from still being made into a novel, does it? If not, then I say go for it! Give it your best shot and see what happens! :)
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On February 21st, 2006 08:30 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
"Making your story in a picture book, though, doesn't bar it from still being made into a novel, does it?"

Oh, Maggie, I have absolutely no idea. This is so far outside my realm of experience I may as well be in orbit. It would be fantastic if I still had the option of finding a publisher for the story-as-novel, but I don't know how that would work.

"Give it your best shot and see what happens!"

That's the plan. Rah! *meep*
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On February 21st, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC), basletum commented:
Suhweeeet! Go for it!
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On February 21st, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Going to do my very best.
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On February 21st, 2006 07:47 pm (UTC), elvesforeyes commented:
Eep indeed! I'd consider that good news and I know you'll figure it out, deciding where the book's best direction be.
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On February 21st, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
*quails*
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On February 21st, 2006 08:01 pm (UTC), safirasilv commented:
Very exciting if slightly scary (from my POV) news with the "sophisticated picture book." I think it would be a beautiful and thrilling project to have to your credit, although I don't have the first idea what goes into creating such a book.

And while Harcourt may have rejected the novel, that's got to be one of the most encouraging rejections ever.
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On February 21st, 2006 08:37 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
"although I don't have the first idea what goes into creating such a book."

And therein my freaking. I so don't either.

"And while Harcourt may have rejected the novel, that's got to be one of the most encouraging rejections ever."

While definitely much appreciated, it's also depressing as get all. This manuscript has gotten so many editors lavishing praise on it and then passing on it that I don't think my poor little heart can take much more crushing encouragement.
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On February 21st, 2006 08:58 pm (UTC), canadiansuzanne commented:
I'm in agreement that making it into a longish picture book doesn't negate the novel concept, especially if the picture book is a success. The scholastic flyers often have copies of the same book at different reading levels, some with more pictures and toned down language and others as novels.

I have my fingers crossed for you. As for the editing details, it'll all come. Just do a bit of research-here and asking-questions-there and you'll figure it out.
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On February 21st, 2006 09:13 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
"The scholastic flyers often have copies of the same book at different reading levels, some with more pictures and toned down language and others as novels."

Really? I didn't know that. So very cool. It gives me reason to think that if this sees publication as a picture book, there may still be the possibility of the novel coming out. That is incredibly reassuring. Thanks so much, Suzanne.

"Just do a bit of research-here and asking-questions-there and you'll figure it out."

I have engaged my Google-fu and am already several stacked windows deep into researching picture books.
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On February 21st, 2006 09:03 pm (UTC), gardenwaltz commented:
i think wangling a word count out of the editor/agent shouldn't be too difficult. that will give you a good idea of whether it would be a story killer. it may be that not many words would be lost, and the gain in pictures would be supreme. i know you've been very happy with the illustrations accompaning many of your recent stories. maybe you could ask the illustrators if they have any experience with these types of books. i don't know how much control you would have over choosing an artist, but it would be good to get opinions from the other side.
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On February 21st, 2006 09:19 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
"i think wangling a word count out of the editor/agent shouldn't be too difficult."

Yepper. Editorial notes should be forthcoming in the next couple days.

"the gain in pictures would be supreme."

*emphatic nods*

"i don't know how much control you would have over choosing an artist, but it would be good to get opinions from the other side."

From everything I've heard, if this pans out, I can expect to have zero input on the selection of an artist, and probably little to no input on the artwork itself, but doing some digging into how the other side works is always a good idea.
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On February 21st, 2006 11:10 pm (UTC), ericmarin commented:
What an exciting opportunity! Have fun researching the picture book concept!
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On February 21st, 2006 11:52 pm (UTC), dean13 commented:
Congrats on "An extremely glowing and encouraging rejection"! And on the potential picture book.

Hmmm... does "sophisticated picture book readers" translate to graphic novel? Many of the artists I met at Comic*Con where looking for material.

I hope you get book deal before the insurance runs out!


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On February 22nd, 2006 01:14 am (UTC), raecarson commented:
I second your "EEP!"

Wow, Eugie. It's outside of my realm of knowledge too, but it sounds *wonderful*. Good luck!!!
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On February 22nd, 2006 03:07 am (UTC), winters_edge commented:
Sounds like you're doing very well on all fronts, and moving ahead with much sensibility. Big hugs to you for being who you are, because I admire that person muchly!
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On February 22nd, 2006 10:44 am (UTC), markdeniz commented:
Sounds good; the rejection is one of those weird ones for me. 'I couldn't put it down but I don't want to publish it' hmmm.

Do some research as you said as it might just be worth your while!
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On February 22nd, 2006 01:46 pm (UTC), reddherring1955 commented:
A huge congrats on this. I also emailed you separately with more comments about the positive side of it all.
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On February 22nd, 2006 03:18 pm (UTC), mtfay commented:
An email from another publishing house--a major one--asking me if I'd be willing to convert my middle-grade novel into a picture book for them to consider

What does your agent think? After all, he's going to get 10% for his knowledge and ability.
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