Megan Wagner Lloyd on FINDING WILD

My Path to Publication
by Megan Wagner Lloyd

      I'm one of those authors who always wanted to be a writer. When I was little I would go around with tiny Sanrio notebooks and compose poems and (very short) short stories, mainly about animals and my family. I was a hopeless bookworm and writer all growing up.
     In 2003 I wrote my first (attempt at) picture book. Then in 2004, I wrote my first (attempt at) a kid's novel. And my writing was just SO terrible! I had read enough that I could recognize good writing. And I knew mine was awful! It was very disheartening. I wish I had come across this quote from Ira Glass at the time (I found it many years later, and it's one of my all-time favorites):
“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit...It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions...It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
     Despite my disappointment in my own writing (or maybe because of it), I kept writing. In 2008, I was able to join a wonderful weekly critique group. Having my work critiqued on a regular basis definitely made me progress as a writer much faster than I ever did on my own.
     I wrote many novels. I wrote many picture books. Gradually I started noticing that I was getting a lot of promising feedback on my picture books...maybe even more than on my novels. Could it be that I could get an agent and be published through my picture book work? It was a strange idea for me to get used to, because I had always thought of myself as primarily a novelist.
      But I adored picture books, both reading and writing them, so once I adjusted to this unexpected twist in my writing journey, I decided to see what I could do with my picture books. I queried agents from about 2012-2013 (I had queried a few times before that, but not much--I knew my work wasn't ready).
      In April of 2014, it happened! Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency became my agent! I'm using lots of exclamation points, because they accurately represent how it felt to get some a wonderful agent! I was (and am still) so excited about this!!!!!!
      And then, in November of the same year, my debut picture book, FINDING WILD, sold to Knopf/Random House.
      More exclamation points!!!!!!! (Megan's fave writing spot is anywhere her laptop is...)
      FINDING WILD, illustrated by Abigail Halpin, was released on May 10th of this year--thirteen years after writing my first attempt at a picture book. I feel so incredibly lucky to have been matched with such an amazing illustrator!
     And now I have two more picture books coming out: FORT-BUILDING TIME, in the fall of 2017 (also from Knopf and illustrated by Abigail Halpin) and PAPER MICE, in the spring of 2018 (from Paula Wiseman Books and illustrated by Phoebe Wahl).
      My path to publication took me on a journey different than the one I expected back in 2003. And even though it was often discouraging at the time, now I'm glad for the ups and downs, because I'm so happy with where I've ended up.
      Learn more about Megan Wagner Lloyd at her website.

1 comment:

Betsy Escandon said...

Yay! This is such an inspiring story of following your dreams and perseverance.