May 18, 2011

SlushPile Warrior - Erin Liles

Today, I am bringing back an old feature on my blog called SlushPile Warriors. SlushPile Warriors focuses on the trials and tribulations of pursuing publication, and what is learned along the way.

I am delighted to be hosting SlushPile Warrior, Erin Liles, who will be telling us about her own travels on the road to publication.

Erin, please tell us a little a little about yourself:

I grew up in California but moved to Texas when I was in my twenties. After college I went to work for a literacy program where I got to share my love for reading with kids and their parents for almost 10 years. But when my husband decided to go back to work after staying home with our two children for 4 years, I got to do what I always wanted to do, stay home with my kiddos and write!

How many submissions do you have out there now?

About 10

How do you research where to send your manuscripts?

I read Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market, but I also do a lot of internet research. I try to stay very connected to other children’s writers through message boards and writer’s groups. Whenever I hear of a publisher, I go to their website and look at their catalogs. If any seem to be similar topics or styles to one of my manuscripts, I will look up the book on and use the preview option to get a better feel for the book.

But nothing beats reading books! No picture book passes through my hands without my checking who published it. My kids are so used to this, that if I have forgotten to look, they will say, “Who published this book mommy?”

What was your biggest submission goof?  What did you learn from it?

My biggest goof was that I started submitting before I was truly ready. I tend to be pretty impatient this way. But I have since learned to let a manuscript “sit” for at least a month (usually longer), and have it go through at least three critiques before I’m allowed to even think it’s ready.

Why do you want to be a writer?

I have always loved to write. I remember being around six years old and painstakingly pecking out a story on my parent’s old typewriter. To this day, my parents love to share the stories I wrote as a kid. I was one of those super shy, but imaginative kids, who always had her head buried in a book, so writing stories just seemed like a natural extension to reading.

What is your favorite style of writing? Why?

Although I blog and occasionally write articles, I love writing picture books. I love the challenge of telling a clear and concise story in 700 words or less. I guess it is the style that just feels the most “right” for me.

What is the most frustrating thing about being a writer?

Rejections! Aside from those, the most frustrating thing is trying to get a story so clear that it cannot be misunderstood in any way. I am often surprised when a story of mine goes through a critique and someone totally misunderstood, or saw something in it differently from what I intended.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?

Acceptances! Aside from those, finishing a story and having the feeling that what you wrote is good.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

That while writing is a solitary activity, you really can’t do it alone. You need as much feedback as possible on your work. You also need emotional and technical support from other writers.

Have you been published? If so where?

Yes. I’ve had two stories published at Stories for Children Magazine and a third to be published in June. I have also had a story published at Bumples. And I’ve had a number of parenting articles published in Austin Family Magazine and Mothering online.

How can people find out more about you?

I blog (about whatever I happen to be thinking about at the time) at:

Is there anything else that you would like to share?

I have come to learn that nothing in writing comes quickly or easily. We have to work at it, love it as an art form, and be prepared to wait endlessly for publication. Don’t give up!

Thanks for stopping by Erin and for giving us a chance to get to know you.  Congratulations on your publishing successes!  I'm sure many more will follow.

If any other SlushPile Warriors are interested in being featured, please email me HERE and I’ll send you some interview questions.


Anonymous said...

Great interview. Glad you brought back the SlushPile Warrior.

Kevin McNamee said...

Thanks Susanne. I'm glad I brought it back as well.