My first blog.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hello and welcome to my first blog. This is new for me, so please be patient as I learn and grow.

My name is Debra Daugherty and I write children stories. I can't remember a time since grade school when I wasn't writing something, but it took a trip to England to make me believe I could become a published author. I was with a tour group and one of the girls in my group was a writer/illustrator of children stories. Fittingly, it was over tea in Grasmere, near Dove Cottage where the famous poet William Wordsworth once lived, that Ilyana and I talked about our writing. She belonged to the SCBWI, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and she encouraged me to join.

I joined in May, 2012, and luckily, a writer's conference was being held in Springfield, IL in June. This was only ten miles from my home! Attending that conference was one of the best things I have ever done. I met Simon & Schuster's children's editor Alexandra Penfold, author of Amelia books, Marissa Moss, and Writer's House agent, Kristy King.

Their presentations were top notch! I learned more in that one weekend than in all the years I have spent writing. Marissa Moss critiqued one of my stories and her thoughts and input were much appreciated. When I presented my work to her later, she noted that my writing had vastly improved.

As an attendee, I was able to submit my writings to Ms. Penfold, and though not accepted, her rejection was not a form letter, she wrote me a very nice e-mail. 

Kristy King was giving up her agent position, but everyone at the conference could still send a manuscript to her agency, Writer's House.

I'm ending on this note: If you are serious about writing, join a writer's group. SCBWI is my choice, but there are others.  And don't just sit at your computer typing on the keyboard, attend conferences! The connections you make at a conference will enhance your writing career. You'll meet the presenters, of course, but you'll also meet other writers like yourself, some who have made it, and some still learning and struggling, but all willing to offer advice and help. And keep on writing!

NOTE: Alexandra Penfold is now an agent for Upstart Crow Literary and Marissa Moss has started a publishing company, Creston Books. Marissa Moss is open to submissions. Check the online sites for these two companies and follow their submission guidelines. GOOD LUCK!