I wrote a post earlier in the year about applying to be on the Mississippi Arts Commission’s Artist Roster. One part of the process is a review of applications by an expert panel. All artists are invited to sit in on their panel’s discussion. I did that last week and it was interesting. Two of the four panelists were in the room; one was participating via telephone from New York. They were: an English professor at a state college, a state government employee who writes novels on the side, and a New York-based writer for a major national magazine who freelances in other major national magazines. A final panelist was ill so did not participate.
There were only two applicants to join the Artist Roster in the Literary Arts this year. We were allowed to submit three writing samples; they had to be in manuscript form (which meant no pictures to go along with Wolfsnail). We also submitted our marketing and promotional material, including a promotional photograph and short blurb for the commission’s website (should we be asked to join the roster).
I was pleased to hear the panelists praise my writing; one said he was glad to see that I didn’t write down to children; another said that Wolfsnail appealed to him as an adult, too. One suggested he wished I would write about a wider variety of topics (since two of my published pieces in the children’s market are about snails, I included both of them).
Once again, I am pleased that I entered this process. I had to put the work in on my promotional materials anyway and the roster application process made me do it sooner than I might have; I also succeeded in getting my work in front of the panelists and the arts commission staff. If I make the roster, I will get my name and my book’s name out into one of the places librarians and teachers look when they are considering inviting speakers to their schools.