Today I am extremely pleased to tell you that Nilah Magruder is joining us here at Sub It Club as a blogger!
Nilah writes and illustrates graphic novels and picture books. She received the 2015 Dwayne McDuffie Diversity Award for her webcomic (and soon to be book) M.F.K. Nilah has already been kind enough to share some tremendous insights with us here on the blog and we are so lucky to have her coming onboard to play a bigger role in the Club. Today Nilah is here to answer a few questions so we can get to know her a better. You are going to want to read this!
Nilah, I am so excited to get to do this interview with you! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a huge animation fan; in fact, it’s what I do for a living. I’m a storyboard artist working on animated TV shows in Los Angeles. I just love drawing and storytelling potential of art. When I was a kid, my mom brought home notebooks and reams of paper from school (she was a teacher) to feed my habit. I was that student who was always doodling around her class notes and flipping through her sketchbook at lunch. Nowadays I draw comics and picture books, too.
What sorts of projects have you submitted?
I participated in #pitmad, a Twitter pitch party, in 2014 that landed me an offer from an agent! The pitch was for a picture book, which sold and is now known as HOW TO FIND A FOX (in bookstores now!). I also sold a graphic novel: M.F.K., coming out this September. Right now I’m between submissions, working on finishing a couple of manuscripts and proposals so I can head back into the trenches!
Can you tell us about your submission philosophy?
Don’t self-reject. Just submit the thing. We too easily talk ourselves out of submitting to opportunities with a list of worries; I’m not the right fit, I’m not good enough, they’ll say no. Just do it – okay, within reason, you should still be aware of an editor or agent’s list and what they’re looking for… but just submit! There are definitely going to be no’s, there are going to be rejections, and it’s okay to be sad about them. When I was submitting, I made a journal entry for every response (good or bad) so I could chart my progress. But a rejection is good, because it means you submitted something. You took a chance on yourself, and the more you do it, the easier it gets. Maybe this agent says your manuscript is not ready, maybe this editor just doesn’t get it, and that’s okay too. Keep writing, keep submitting. I firmly believe that if you can conceive of an idea, there will be people out there who love the idea as much as you do; those are the people you want to focus on.
What have you learned on your journey?
Publishing is slooow, maddeningly so, but I’ve been learning to embrace it. Nowadays, I love when my inbox is quiet, because it means no one’s waiting on me to do something! So while you’re waiting for that e-mail, that offer letter, that contract, work on your next manuscript. Get your website up and running. Plan what you want to do for your very first book launch party (because it’s going to happen). And give yourself time to grow as a writer and artist. You’ve still got a lot to learn–well, I do, anyway–so make good use of publishing’s slow pace. Be prepared, because one day those e-mails are going to start coming, and you want to be ready for them!
What do you hope to add to the information here at Sub It Club?
There isn’t the same amount of organized info about submitting as an illustrator as there is for writers. Even after my agent offered me representation, I still had very specific questions about the illustrator side of publishing that I couldn’t find answers for. I’m hoping to provide posts that give illustrators a starting point on their submission journey.
Yay! I truly am thrilled to have Nilah helping us pump up the amount of info we share with illustrators, and writers as well. I hope you are too. Check back tomorrow for Nilah’s first post. (Psst! Wanna know something exciting? She’s gonna talk about portfolio websites!)
For now you can read the guest post Nilah did for us: How to Find a Book Deal, where she talks about the dummy, the call, and more. You can also go connect with Nilah on Twitter @nilaffle, Facebook, and at nilahmagruder.com and give her a welcome right here in the comments!
Welcome Nilah! I am so excited to hear about the illustrator side of things. I’m thrilled for all the experience you bring to the table.
Terrific interview and advice, Nilah. I look forward to everything you have to share.
Welcome, Nilah 🙂 I enjoyed your interview and the advice you shared. Congrats on the books!
Fantastic news! Look forward to Nilah’s posts. 🙂
Welcome, Nilah! Love your philosophy about taking a chance on yourself, just submitting, and making the most of the quiet slow times!