The official announcement came out this morning. A manuscript for a picture book I submitted to a competition for new children’s authors in Canada was one of four finalists from among hundreds of entries. I am so excited! I submitted to the contest last year and although my manuscript made it to the final jury I didn’t crack the top four list. So I edited the story again and again trying to follow all the advice the contest judges had provided, and submitted it to this year’s contest. And I was a finalist. The really wonderful thing about being in the top four is that my manuscript will now be given to three Canadian publishers – Annick Press, Kids Can Press and Scholastic Canada for their consideration and I will receive feedback from their editors about how to improve my manuscript. Since these publishers do not accept unsolicited manuscripts the only way for me to have them read my story was to be a finalist in this contest.
I first wrote my story as an assignment in a writing course three and a half years ago and since then have been refining it and changing it constantly to improve it. I read somewhere that if a picture book gets published it usually takes from five to six years, so I am on the road.
I owe HUGE thanks to my friend and former Winnipeg Art Gallery colleague Perry Nodelman who gave me such helpful feedback on my manuscript and was the one who suggested I enter my story in this contest, and to the members of The Anita Factor, my writers’ group who have listened to my story many times and offered such wise advice.