Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Thandi sets her hair on fire

I’ve just sent a 12-page, 500 word manuscript to my agent, asking him to consider sending it out to publishers. Titled “Thandi sets her hair on fire” the story is about a girl who pays house with her friends and they all decide to cook, with dangerous consequences.

I think the subject of the story (fire) opens a number of learning opportunities for kids. For example, the first part of the book could be fiction (the 12-page story), the second part non-fiction about fire safety, general emergency numbers to call and some basic info on how to take care of small burn wounds.

We could also include a number of interesting recipes for sarmies and salads that kids can prepare by themselves, some games and puzzles, colour in pictures of scenes that also educate the kids about fire safety, maybe even a profile of a real life fire fighter with a picture of him.

It’s late at night and maybe I’ve drunk too many cups of herbal tea, but I might even go as far as to venture that the idea has the potential to be beginning of a series under the right circumstances. We'll see.

Last I heard from my agent, he acknowledged the material I sent to him and said he would be in touch. I want to believe that the reason I have not heard from him is because he has not had the chance to review the manuscripts; not that he’s so stunned by my lack of talent and skill as a writer that he’s left without words.

The only reason I still retain my sanity is because i know I’m being unrealistic. The man is busy and it’s only been a couple of weeks since I sent the material. If i'm lucky, he's giving my submission due consideration and will revert back to me to say :"I love it!" I wish my nerves understood that!

I’ve also emailed a copy of the manuscript and the non-fiction suggestions to a freelance publisher I know. We haven’t met in person, but over the years I have submitted material to her, some of which she liked, but somehow the timing never seemed right for a joint project to get off the ground.

The last time we tried to work together was in 2004 and after I submitted a manuscript written specifically for her editorial needs, the publishing house she worked for stopped accepting new material for the series she was working on. She was retrenched.

A few weeks later I was also retrenched from my day job at the time, and I was so busy looking for non-fiction writing work – which is what pays the bills- children’s fiction was forgotten. Now she’s working as a publisher again, and I have started writing for kids again. Karma?

I hope she’ll like “Thandi sets her hair on fire” and the story fits with her editorial calendar. If it doesn’t fit with her calendar, my hope is she will refer me to someone who might be interested. She did that for me years ago with The Doll that grew.

I know my agent should be the one doing the submissions, but what’s the harm in contacting this publisher directly? If she’s interested, the agent can come into the picture and do the contract negotiations.

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