Since I was a little girl, I have had three dreams for myself- to be a teacher, a mother, and an author. Once I had my first and second dreams come true, life became increasingly busy and left me with very little energy and time to pursue the third. I told myself that one day, I would get back to my love of writing as I had received a B.A in English, but I kept pushing it to the back burner.
Then almost a year ago, I lost my mom. It was sudden, devastating, and brought me down to my knees. The experience made me reevaluate how precious time truly is and how I must continue to live my best life and pursue all of my dreams BIG and small in her honor as she would want me to.
And so, with the desire for more Vietnamese American representations in picture books for my children and all Vietnamese American children, I began writing again. After an acquaintance recommended that I enter the #pbchat Mentorship Contest, I found out that I had won Honorable Mention and a Zoom Meeting with an amazing published author. From that meeting, I gained a mentor who helped guide me to revise and fully develop a manuscript based on my experience of living temporarily in a refugee camp.
After many many revisions later, I joined SCBWI and saw a post on their Facebook Group from an author who found success with the #PBPitch Event on Twitter. I quickly created an account and spent long nights doing my research after our kids went to bed.
I worked with my mentor to craft two pitches days before the day of the event, took a deep breath, said a prayer before tweeting, and tweeted. Then I headed off to teach for the day.
To be completely honest, I was taken away and humbled by the kindest response and support from the #writingcommunity. Along with all the retweets and comments, I also received 8 LIKES from 8 agents who requested that I query them.
In a matter of days of querying each agent, two agents politely passed but took the time to provide thorough and in-depth critiques of it. I was so touched. They could have just passed and moved on, but they didn’t. They saw how important this story is and provided the best support that they could to help me make it shine.
From their feedback, I made major revisions to the manuscript. I then reached out to the other agents who had yet to respond to ask if I could resubmit. Luckily, they all agreed and so I sent it out and waited and waited.
While I must say, the waiting part was so so hard. I was so thrilled when I heard back from one of the agents, Hannah Vanvels, who said she LOVED it and requested more work. I literally jumped up and down when I received that message!
Luckily, I had two other manuscripts to send. To occupy myself and keep active, I joined a couple of critique groups, made some critique partners, and kept revising and tightening my manuscripts.
This was simply the BEST thing that I have done since joining the #writingcommunity. The suggestions, comments, critiques, and friendships that I have made so far have pushed and helped me to grow the MOST as a writer since I began this writing journey.
Then one day… I received a message for a ZOOM chat from Hannah! It was a very short and sweet message, which I thought was another kind rejection, but I am STUNNED!
Immediately, I responded and a date and time for our chat was set up.
Stay tuned because I’m going to tell you all about it in the next post!