UPDATE: I no longer advise people to utilize Scribophile. While it can benefit the beginner, it is limited in its ability and caused more trouble for me than aide. While I know of one or two authors who find it benefits them to continue using it, most of the others that I know have moved on or never used it in the first place.
It’s time for me to strap my big girl boots on and try (again) to get published. I tried years ago with two books. One was Bub the Tooth, and the other was Sir Clanks-a-Lot. Now, I’ve recently joined an online social group for writers, Scribophile. Scribophile allows you to post work for critique by other writers in exchange for critiquing others. You choose which works you critique. ALL genres are included. Some of which I had never even heard of, like flash fiction. Please visit this site for a more comprehensive review of scribophile.
Enough of that. So, I submitted Sir Clanks-a-Lot (hereby called SCAL) for critique. There is absolutely no incentive whatsoever for complimenting a work. In fact, you are urged to find everything you can. Bear in mind, SCAL is a picture book. Now, please forgive my bragging, but if I never get this thing published, this will be my only chance to brag ever. I got three reviews. One was a young mother, one taught daycare for 10 years, and another presently works with first graders. All three loved them. Here is some of what they said:
What a cute story! I taught daycare for ten years and I can really see myself reading this fun story out loud to a group of preschoolers
Congratulations, Debby! What an original and delightful idea! As I hope you can see from inline comments, I thoroughly enjoyed it!
I am currently working on my query, which is pure torture. Apparently every writer hates doing them, so that makes me feel better. Some sites say to make it all professional, dry, to begin with “Please read my XXX word manuscript about blah blah blah” and to NEVER try to be cute with a “hook line.” The other half says the exact opposite. Start with a hook line (mine is)-
“Fear not my princess in distress! I will help thee! I am Sir Clanks A Lot, at your service!”
Sir Clanks-a-Lot and the Coconut Islands thrills children and adults alike as they read of his hilarious and clumsy adventures.
-and then bore them with professionalism while keeping with the wording of the manuscript. I tried the first way 2-3 years ago when I first submitted SCAL. It didn’t work, obviously. Now I’m trying the second way. And since I can submit query letters on scribophile for critique too, I should be better prepared this time. I’ll blog again after I get that all figured out. Wish me luck!