This is my journey in creating concepts, writing, illustrating, finding a literary agent, and becoming a published children's book author and illustrator for the picture book genre.

Monday, November 5, 2012

a work in progress

Blogging is a lot of thought typed out on a free or paid website. It holds a personal adventure, information learned from another, pictures, memories, and stories from all across the world. I just hit that arrow at the top and away I go.

Today has been spent revamping my query letter based on the do's and don'ts of the SCBWI site. Tons of flaws in my first one. Here is the second as it stands. Thank you to my awesome cousin and BCF, Leslie, and hubby for their eyes. Always need to have someone double check your work for errors and such.

Dear (person to whom I am querying),
“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” Emily Post, 1872-1960
Andy the Ant is lost, but not alone. As the wayward insect searches for his home, he meets a little green frog, a friendly red fish, and a trio of buzzing bees who like the word “please”.  They help him on his way while demonstrating the importance of using good manners. Andy must employ polite greetings, navigate introductions, and remember to use the phrases “please” and “thank you” if he wants to successfully complete his journey home. He is also learning the importance of being kind and helpful through his adventures within the book.
Andy the Ant, narrated in rhyme, is a 749 word early/emergent reader book to guide children in the do’s and don’ts of greetings and using please and thank you. It is an adventure story with an underlying theme of making new friends and using courteous words. Although it can stand alone, I intend Andy the Ant to be the first book in a series in which each volume will demonstrate a different aspect of manners and etiquette through an adventure style story. I have started a second book with a central theme of tantrums and how to apologize with words and actions.
I am the mother of three young boys and an active member of the SCWBI. In my youth, I attended two years of charm school and a year of finishing/refinement classes. These classes helped my introverted nature and gave me confidence in social settings. My grandfather believed that manners began in the home.  Children learn good manners through storytelling, instruction, and demonstration. The understanding of manners is an appreciation and sensitivity of others’ feelings. By learning basic skill sets, they are able to excel socially and achieve confidence within themselves.
My inspiration for this story comes from an author that influenced me as a child and still does now, Dr. Seuss. His books have an adventure and a real world theme. They are melodious and fun to read. The Bad Kitty series, by Nick Bruel, and Do unto Otters, by Laurie Keller, offer wise counseling in etiquette for the early reader. By combining instructional etiquette with corrective behavior, rhyme, and an adventure, I hope to inspire this impressionable age group to read and use courteous words with each other. I am very passionate about the need to establish the fundamentals of good manners at an early age. A little ant by the name of Andy is helping me with this endeavor.

Included with this query is a copy of the complete manuscript. I have also created a complete set of illustrations and will provide them upon request.  Thank you for your time and consideration.


Cassaundra Dunbridge
So, dear Agents, prepare to be queried...AGAIN! 
I am better equipped and ready to get your attention! 

This process is a tiring one. I have highlighters, post its, pens, and binder clips all on the ready.  Each step requires a thorough read of the agent and what they provide. Then I stalk them on their website. Then I visit another website and check their credentials. After that, I look at the authors they represent. And if I really feel that jittery feeling of excitement in my tummy, I click on the submission guidelines. This process takes a very long time, but I am looking for that right agency to represent my work. It has been several years in the making to get to this point. It needs to be a right fit. So, two agencies have received my work today. It took me an hour and a half just to submit my work and query to these agencies. On my way!

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