Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Reacting to Rejection: Questions to Myself

Roxie Munro and Me in 2013.
Though I believed I had targeted my next publisher SO accurately, another rejection letter arrived in the mail the other day. Of course I was depressed and down and felt a bit weepy. If you say you don't feel that way when you get a rejection, I'm not sure I believe you. To add insult to injury, the publisher enclosed a form rejection addressed to "Dear Author".  Couldn't they even reject me with a bit of class? No suggestions. No criticisms. No encouragement. No use. And really, no use obsessing over another lost two months. I'm so glad I did my Lenten Journey during the wait.

My husband is so wise. He just hugged me, kept quiet and bought me flowers the next day. I whipped out a feeling-sorry-for-me email to my mentor, posted my new status (REJECTED AGAIN) on FaceBook and went back to The Book, a valuable resource from SCBWI. The Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators has lists of publishers. Now I have checked off two. I spent some time searching the remainder of the list for my next target. Then checked on-line to find out if they are accepting unagented, unsolicited manuscripts. Most, of course, are not. But now I will work my network on LinkedIn and see if I can find some connections there.

Ready to stick my neck out again.
Questions to myself generated from reading other blogs and websites, email from my mentor, FaceBook responses from friends and serious personal reflection:

1. Was I foolish to send a dummy to the last company, even though they said they accept dummies?
2. Is there something wrong with my cover letter?
3. Does that fellow on line REALLY have the secret to the perfect cover letter and should I send him $37.95 to get it?
4. Should I join a critique group?
5. Can I afford to go to the 21st Century Non-Fiction Writer's Conference in June? (I found my mentor and a lot of positive reinforcement there last year).
6. Should I listen to people who suggest I self publish the book?
7. Should I do a multiple submission next time?
8. What might be wrong with my proposal, besides the cover letter?
9. Should I have included less art work, or more?
10. Do I have any talent, or is this all a waste of time?

Actually, number 10 didn't cross my mind. I KNOW the book is good. The text is engaging and everyone who has seen it (with the exception of the most recent rejector) thinks it ought to be published!

My answer to most of the other questions ranges from a firm "No!" to a soft "Maybe." I think I need to spend the next week or two reconnoitering on cover letters and considering who to share the book with, for new insights. I will check in to meetings of SCBWI for upcoming review sessions. I'm open to comments from readers about the concept of multiple submissions. I also plan to revise my postcard and start sending it to editors and publishers.

My Postcard to Be Revised
 I think sending the dummy was fine, but I probably need to revise it again. I know that the cover letter can be improved. Not sure how, but I will work on that. I don't think sending for the "perfect" letter is a useful step. I know that group critiques are not for me. I don't think I can afford the June conference, but maybe I can afford a local SCBWI conference. I know that self-publishing is my last ditch position. I know I need to talk to other authors about multiple submissions. It has taken 2 1/2 to 3 months for each of the last to submissions. At that rate it will be another year before I get the proposal to 4 more companies. More conversations or emails with published authors may give me some new insights regarding proposals and what to include.

There is plenty to work on, and plenty to learn. It's time to pick myself up, dust myself off and start submission over again. So, my friends, here I go again. Wish me luck, and send suggestions if you have them.

Happy spring.

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