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Posted on the Squeetus Blog June 16, 2006 01:57 PM PST.

I'm facilitating a YA Novel workshop next week and in preparation have been reading submitted mss from the participants. They all had to send in a first chapter of a YA or middle grade novel they're working on. After reading 13 chapters, I have to say, this industry has some stiff competition. They were all great in their own ways and all made me want to read more. This is the kind of stuff publishers are getting in their slush pile, which means the competition is so tight. With so many good books being written and submitted, I think you have to be GREAT to catch the attention. And you have to find just the right editor for your book, which can take months and years of searching (goose girl was rejected by nine publishers before finding Bloomsbury).

It's a tough field. But I think that's exciting! It's the impetus we writers need to make ourselves even better, to craft every word, to sing our souls into the writing, to make a book worth dancing about! I hope that hopeful writers see the invigorating challenge in this and take it boldly, and not let themselves get discouraged. Never be satisfied with "good enough." Go write a book so brilliant, so lovely and exciting and interesting and new, that when the right editor reads it, she can't possibly say no!

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