This week, I’m making final edits to my middle grade manuscript, including doing something fun I’ve never tried before. In this story, food plays a special part in my little heroine’s heart – a prize-winning recipe for a Sumptuous Strawberry Tart is key to the story. So I’ve included a copy of the recipe at the end, just as I would hope would be part of the book when it gets published. But rather than just type it out, I thought it would be fun to design that page like it just came out of one of my main character’s notebooks, which are also important to the story.
I know that an agent/publisher normally wouldn’t want to see your manuscript with your artwork in it. They want the writing first and foremost, and the cover design and any illustrations comes later-and hopefully are done by someone awesome. But since this is just a recipe and it’s at the very end, I decided to take a risk and throw it in just for fun. I’m hoping it will catch someone’s eye and give them a better picture of the type of book I’m imagining, which would feel like an 11-year-old’s journal. I’m under no illusions that I would be the illustrator/designer for any of my books, it’s just to give them an idea of where I think the art direction could go. And it’s just a recipe – fun and short, and on the very last page. A little treat for any agent who makes it that far reading. (I hope!)
Writing queries is so tough – I’ve reviewed so many of them on Writer’s Digest and read a ton of articles on how to write them and I THINK I have a good idea of what I’m doing, but holy cow, so much hangs on an opening sentence/paragraph, it’s definitely intimidating.
I feel like I’m on an episode of The Voice, just hoping that at my first line an agent will turn their chair.
But it’s also really exciting. You send out all these queries and hope that something comes back to you, message-in-a-bottle-style.
So next week, the fun really begins!