“If only I had not been so young and foolish!” I can say that now at the ripe old age of 46 years young, but it still bothers me! When I was around 20, I sent lots of picture book texts systematically to UK publishers using all of the advice from The Children’s Writer and Illustrator Handbook and I received what I now know was a close call.
Sadly at the time, I didn’t realize that interest from an editor may involve suggesting changes. For me, it was either you love my work as is or not at all. Oh how foolish!
Scroll forward, some 25 years and I have been away from the world of children’s picture books training and working as a Child Psychologist. I have had a few brief flurries during that time, but it wasn’t until 2020 that I decided to do a course on Illustrating and Writing Children’s Books and embrace this venture once more.
I pulled out all the texts from the flurries over the years, including the original picture book I created for my Art GCSE, All Aboard, The Jolly Bear. I started a Twitter account to engage with the writing community and I embraced YouTube. I redrafted my Jolly Bear book and I did all of the thumbnails for the dummy and final drawings for every page. I even recorded myself drawing and painting and shared it with my Facebook friends. This was a side of myself that had remained hidden for some 20 years.
Now, here I am with manuscripts and illustrations for them. I’m not as afraid now to share my art work and I regularly share texts for critique with my various groups in the UK and US. At times, I catch myself almost believing that I may fulfill my ambition one day and have a book traditionally published that I have both illustrated and written.
However, despite all of this, I don’t feel ready yet to query again systematically. I dabble with competitions and Twitter pitch events, but I can’t quite commit to sending the babies out from the nest. I know though that this has got to change because I won’t get anywhere with my work safely stored on my computer and in my sketchbook. I see my peers being successful and I know I really just need to get on and get out there.I am Melanie Adkins, Child Psychologist, Wannabe Author/Illustrator of picture books. I have an MA in Children’s Literature and I belong to 12 x 12, SCBWI, Write Mentor and Golden Egg. Follow me @bartybearadven1 on Twitter or Bartybearadventures on Instagram. My website is www.mebby3.wixsite.com/bartybearadventures. I’m always happy to connect with likeminded wannabes.