Finding Meaning in Publishing

If you’re currently querying, you might be worried about the buzz saying that it’s more difficult than ever before to be in the query trenches. There is no doubt that, at least for the time being, the COVID pandemic has changed publishing at all levels. However, all of us at #LatinxPitch want to everyone going into the pitch event to feel the hope that all of us on the #LatinxPitch committee hold for Latinx creators. And we hope that these words from members of our committee help encourage you to continue on your journey toward achieving publication! See you all on September 15th!

Publishing is about networking and genuine connections but also about learning from one another. That’s why it’s so important to read your peers’ work and help promote it.

Mariana Llanos (Run Little Chaski, Run out now; Vampirita out 2023)

Publishing is all about the long game, so when you’re first starting out focus on building those relationships that will help you get through the inevitable rejections. Build a support network that can both be your cheerleaders and your quality control. Be sure you’re ready to process passes in a way that won’t pummel your confidence but keep you moving forward—community is essential for that. Not only can they cheer you up when you feel down, but they also help you realize that rejection is part of the process and the people whose work you deeply admire are experiencing the same highs and lows. When I first started writing, I queried before I was ready and received a very kind pass from one of those golden ticket opportunities, and it was enough to freeze me up as a writer for over a year. I couldn’t write, I couldn’t query, I was stuck. But as I got to know the industry and built my community, I realized I wasn’t alone. Not only did critique partners and support networks help me refine my work and helped me deal with passes in a more constructive way, but they also helped connect me to others in the industry which eventually led to representation and book deals. Be kind. Be supportive and build that community!

Sara Fajardo (Paka Paka Con La Papa: Alberto Salas Plays Potato Hide-And-Seek out 2023)

Publishing is challenging. We all know this, but it helps to remember and own it. I use this truth to fuel myself—it’s a challenging business, a challenging craft, and by engaging with publishing at all, I’m pushing myself to grow and learn. We can’t control what happens outside of ourselves, but if we are improving, evolving, leveling-up, that matters. That is meaningful. Find your meaning in this wild ride; it’s not a straight road to follow like many other vocations. When things are difficult, when you’re hearing no over and over, when things are unjust or unfair, lean on your own personal meaning and journey.  Keep going for your own evolution as a creator, that meaning and fire that burns deep inside of you that cannot be put out by world events, injustices, or the beast of the publishing business.

Jorge (Zombies Don’t Eat Veggies and XO, Exoplanet (illus.) out now; The Wild Ones out 2023)

We hear the words community and rejection in publishing often because the first one is absolutely necessary to navigate the inevitable second. It’s in the relationships that we will find it’s a path worthwhile. I’m so grateful for the friendships created in this #LatinxPitch group and our conversations have been essential in learning many different aspects of this career and finding opportunities. My advice is to open your circle and engage with latino creators like you, the ones debuting and the established ones. Reach out, follow, connect, boost, request these books at your library, read, explore what is working. Networking and connections in the community are a building block for learning and support that will go far beyond craft and querying. Community will reminds us we are not alone, our stories are valuable and every milestone along the way deserves celebration.

Cynthia Harmony (Mi Cuidad Sings out now; A Flicker of Hope out 2023)

Querying is hard, but cold querying still works! Some rejections stung more than others, and after I’d let myself feel my feelings for about a day, I’d send out more queries. So for every rejection, I’d send out 1-2 more queries right away. It was kind of like, “Take that! I’ll show you Agent X!

Nydia Armendia-Sánchez (Not Far From Here out 2024)

I always like to say that publishing is hard but it’s not impossible! When I first started out, I’d often ask myself, why me? Now, whenever something feels hard, whenever I’m unsure, I ask why not me? When you’re doubting yourself, take the leap, because the reality is we need Latinx and diverse voices more than ever! We need you!

Sandra Proudman (👀)

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