The path to publishing is so different for everyone. You never know how you will reach those important milestones because, we all have a different story.
When I first made the decision that I wanted to seriously pursue a career in children’s books, everything seemed so daunting. I had no clue how people reached out to publishing houses, why agents were so important, what a query letter was, or even how difficult it was to write a polished manuscript that would be worthy of being published, or how to create illustrations with a consistent style. I was clueless.
I found comfort in reading other people’s stories and seeing how they had found their path to success. It felt like it gave me a better idea on what I had to do to reach my goals. So that’s why I’m sharing my story. I hope it brings reassurance to those who find themselves in a similar place as I was, before I found my agent.
Almost one year ago today, I signed up for the SCBWI 2020 Summer Conference’s Portfolio Showcase. Although I was scared that my work wasn’t good enough, I knew that if I wanted to achieve my publishing goals, I had to put myself out there.
It ended up being one of the best career moves I’ve made (aside from devoting thousands of hours to learning and practice).
Shortly after the conference began, I received an email from an amazing agent, who months later, after emailing back and forth, became my agent – Anna Olswanger of Olswanger Literary. She said she liked my work and asked if I wrote as well. And, luckily, I did.
She liked all the things that epitomize who I am – my spooky illustrations and stories, my Mexican culture, and my desire to make the world more inclusive and accepting of “others.” It was honestly a dream come true. And one year later, it still feels like a dream. As I write this, we are out on submission with one book, will be going out on submission with another book, and I’m working hard on new projects. Hopefully I’ll be sharing the story on how I got my first publishing deal soon.
I hope your takeaway after reading this is to put yourself out there. Because you never know who might be looking.
If you have an agent, share your story.
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Make sure you check back and follow me on Instagram (@CynthiaGDeLaTorre) to get sneak peeks, updates, and opportunities to win some of my art.