It's no secret that one of the fastest ways to become traditionally published is by learning from other authors. Luckily, there are countless great online courses and subscriptions. You know how I've drooled over so many, I'm still mopping up my computer desk. But today I'd like to highlight just one.
But first a story...
A Brilliant Idea
When I was a preteen, my mom and dad bought a piece of property to build a house on. After looking at several predesigned layouts, my mom realized that none of them would work for our family. So she decided to create her own.
Now, my mom had NO experience with building a house. But she had a vision of what she wanted our house to be.
Armed with a tape measure and some knowledge of the layouts she'd seen, my mom began designing her masterpiece. She took a piece of graph paper and cut rectangles to scale, and then literally taped them together until she had a rough layout of a house. Then she built a cardboard dollhouse from the graph-paper floorplan. When she had it as good as she could possibly get it, she took the revised drawings to my grandpa.
A general contractor by profession, my grandpa has seen countless blueprints. He'd actually built houses from those blueprints and knew what would - and would not - work. When my mom showed him her obviously amateur designs, my grandpa was impressed nevertheless.
"This is good, but we can't build a house from it yet," my grandpa said, "you forget that the walls are not cardboard thin."
There were other problems, too.
The plumbing didn't run straight from the first story to the second.
There weren't enough outlets.
Step-by-step, my grandpa helped my mom create house plans that would actually work. He taught my mom about brace walls and windows, and stairs. He told her about building codes and how to comply without losing her vision for the house. Finally, my mom had the house of her dreams on paper, and my grandpa could actually build it in reality.
Which he did.
The Awesome Thing
The awesome thing is that those house plans now exist. So if another contractor wanted to build that house, he (or she) could easily do so. My mom had created an original! But could she do it again?
My Point is...
If my mom had taken that initial graph paper design to any professional contractor other than my grandpa, that contractor would have simply said, "This won't work," and refuse to build it. But because my grandpa was willing to teach and coach my mom, we eventually had a beautiful custom 6-bedroom home to live in.
I wonder how often agents and editors get promising manuscripts, but some of the ingredients are missing, or parts of them aren't up to publishing standard. Perhaps several would-be original creations are rejected by publishing professionals -
NOT because they're awful,
but because they won't sell as is.
Wouldn't it be great if there was someone like my grandpa who knew the industry and was willing to teach those writers how to take their vision and mold it into something that could be published? And wouldn't it be great if that same someone updated their teaching as the publishing world changed and evolved?
Well, maybe there is.
Introducing Writing Blueprints
Whether you are writing a picture book or chapter book, there is a step-by-step tool that helps you create your manuscript, and then revise and polish it until it's ready to publish. Unlike many online courses out there, your one-time payment gets you lifetime access to all the updates. So it's a tool you can use again and again with each new manuscript.
I write about, with, for, and around kids all day. (Well, maybe I do the dishes too. Sometimes.)