Bravo to you for writing a first draft of a story! Lots of people talk about writing a story, but in reality, they never get one started or finished. You’re already way ahead by getting a draft written.
Now a different sort of work begins. Many revisions lie ahead to take an original draft to the level of publication. If you want to increase your chances of publishing, you must spend time deepening the craft. This might be through a writer’s workshop, a writer’s group, or finding and working with an online editor (but that requires payment).
Years ago, I started with a writer’s group of one other person who shared a passion for writing. We met once a month for several hours and shared what we were working on; we offered each other encouragement, praise, and constructive criticism. A writer’s group can keep you going.
Where would you find other writers? In Minnesota, a great organization to check out for online classes/workshops and in-person classes/workshops is The Loft in Minneapolis. But anywhere writers gather, you’re likely to find others who share your interest in passion.
Another great organization for children’s writers is the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Each state has a chapter with meetings that bring in editors, authors, and illustrators. You’ll learn more about the craft of writing, and you might make connections that might lead to having your manuscript read by someone in the field.
Finally, when you’re ready to send out—get the most recent copy of the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market, available at most libraries. It’s a bible of information about where to send your manuscript, plus it and has lots of other useful information, including how to prepare your manuscript for submission.
Oh, finally, before you send off your story—start another. It’s always good to have more than one project going to keep yourself buoyed up when the rejections start arriving. When they do, you’ll know that you’re acting like a writer.
Welcome to the “great sea of hope,” where an acceptance letter and publication become possible!