editors are awestruck by what?

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Fabulous editors/presenters-- Mallory Kass, Scholastic; Kathy Dawson, Kathy Dawson Books; Aubrey Poole, Sourcebooks; Katherine Jacobs, Roaring Book Press

Fabulous editors/presenters–
Mallory Kass, Scholastic;
Kathy Dawson, Kathy Dawson Books; Aubrey Poole, Sourcebooks; Katherine Jacobs, Roaring Book Press


I was shocked when I heard it. I mean, editors are the ones with all the power, right? They can choose to champion a manuscript or say pass. What leaves these powerful people awestruck?

This weekend I had the pleasure of participating in the Falling Leaves retreat in Silver Bay, NY, hosted by the SCBWI – Eastern NY chapter.

Moon over Lake George in Silver Bay, NY

Moon over Lake George

Over the course of the weekend we were treated to interactive presentations by five warm, wise editors who challenged, enlightened and encouraged us. During the final talk, Scholastic Press editor Mallory Kass made an impromptu comment that gave me pause.

Mallory said, “We are in awe of what you do. We love story and you’re the ones who create them.”

Hold on. Editors are awestruck by who?

Mallory’s table-turner made my heart skip a beat. Most of us are amazed by what editors can do–and I’m not just talking about acquiring manuscripts. We appreciate an editor’s extraordinary ability to take a great story and transform it into a dazzling published work. Editors make us look good. Thinking about the way editors see us as writers made me feel empowered and pleased.

If you surround yourself with other children’s writers via your critique group, retreats, Facebook, blogs . . . it can be easy to forget that not everyone does what we do. Think about it. How many people do you know in your “outside” life–at work, at church, at the gym or even in your whole city, who are actively pursuing a writing life? I know writers aren’t always easy to spot. We don’t go around with a scarlet W on our chests (thank goodness!), but I’m guessing, even if there are some “underground writers” in your area, they’re still a tiny group.

So, don’t forget among the writing, revising, hair pulling, submitting, cussing and nail biting that you’re doing something awe-inspiring.

Editors think so. You should too.

Silver Bay, Adirondack Mountains in NY

Silver Bay, Adirondack Mountains in NY

Look at people for an example, but then make sure to do things your way. Surround yourself with positive people. ~ Queen Latifah

Silver Bay YMCA on Lake George

Silver Bay YMCA on Lake George

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