It’s cold outside. And today I miss our puppy. Oh well.
Jennifer Lopez was on the Today Show interviewing about American Idol. At this point singers compete for the famed “golden ticket” to Hollywood where they’ll either wash-out or shine toward stardom.
Some auditioners are so tone deaf or perhaps delusional they have no idea how horrible they sound. Although they belt out scratching fingernails on a chalkboard melodies, with all their little hearts and souls… they just don’t have “it.” They’re totally devastated. And the American public is entertained. It’s like some secret desire to see others fail miserably that make us feel better about ourselves somehow. Wow! I wouldn’t make a fool of myself like that.
As writers we put ourselves out there too. In a way. Although our humiliation isn’t on national television. Still. We are being critiqued. Perhaps the Jennifer Lopez of editors in New York look at our manuscript and tries to be nice about it. Even though it stinks. She appreciates “the effort.” Too busy to make a personal reply or suggestion she puts a form slip of paper in the SASE. Not even a whole letter on a full sheet of paper. Just a slip. Who wants to waste a good whole piece of paper on that caliber of writing?
Maybe we’re not that bad. Some singers on American Idol can carry a tune, they’re just not good enough. So instead of the slip rejection in our SASE we get a whole piece of paper. Yipee.
Sometimes we have something of merit but it’s still not marketable enough. It’s all about the bottom line nowadays. But it’s a good story and decent writing or the other way around. So something remarkable happens. A nice Jennifer Lopez type editor will write a short handwritten note on a cover or query letter. That’s BIG. It’s still rejection. But a good rejection.
Out of thousands of manuscripts there’s that rare occurence when a nice Jennifer Lopez editor will see that both manuscript and writer have some talent. She may request to see the entire manuscript. That’s a nice email or phone call to get.
That’s where I’m at. I’m waiting for my nice Jennifer Lopez type editor or even a Randy Jackson or Steven Tyler type call or email me with a request to see the whole manuscript. That day will come. I’m sure many of you have surpassed this level and have a story to tell about how you did it. Please share it with me. It’ll be inspiration.
I’ve read blogs of successful authors of children’s books. They write about deadlines and conferences they are speakers at. Marketing by speaking engagements, school visits, book signings all crammed into their busy schedules while still finding time to write.
Because that’s what this is all about, isn’t it?
Each year the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) has its Winter Conference. It’s in New York. How wonderful to go, to be there. New York is my home. Although I don’t live there anymore. I haven’t since 4yrs old.
Today I pine over a wish to be at the conference. But it’s okay. Really. The sunlight streams through the window blinds in my dining room. It’s comforting to see the strips of light fall across the wood floor. The family is home and we have plans to have pizza at Flatbread. Children can build their own pizza at the table and watch it bake in the big woodfire brick oven. It’s a neat, fun thing to do on a Saturday afternoon.
So if I were really the writer I aspire to be, I’d probably be at that conference today. One day I’ll go. But today I’ll finish reading Rebecca Steads Newbery book, “When You Reach Me,” and eat pizza. Not New York pizza, but that’s okay. It’s all good.
Just living life and gathering the tools needed to write the stories that will someday come from all these simple little experiences in everyday living.
Our little puppy has found a new home. He’s on my lap snoring. He has no idea. It’s like my dad said, “His days are numbered.” The good thing is that we found a nice friend who will love him. My son named him Luke Skywalker. You know. The famous guy from Star Wars. But he has a face like Chewbacca.
On another note. I saw an interview with Maurice Sendak last night. Very eye opening. He’s not a kid friendly guy yet he’s an award winning, highly successful children’s author. I guess you don’t have to like children to be a children’s writer. At least according to him. He did admit to not liking people in general. Crotchety old guy.
Watching his interview I was intrigued, jealous, humored but most of all ANGRY. I mean. He accomplished what I’ve set out to do. All of us writers want to be published, award-winners, have our books made into movies. Yet he pooh-poohed it all. So nonchalant. Like it was no biggie. And even worse he complained about it.
All I have to say is: HOW WUDE!
The name of this post is REJECTION LETTERS & SUCH. The SUCH part is what happens in between all my rejections. A new short chapter book series I worked on is complete. Last night I re-edited. So tomorrow I will send it out. It’s going to Bloomsbury Children’s Books.
In between there’s a lot of waiting. But while I wait stuff happens. We think our son is allergic to our puppy. Trying to think of ways to soften the blow if the puppy needs to find a new home. Oh well.
Waiting for the next winter storm. Blue sky today. Dark clouds tomorrow. Oh well again. So I wait …
This morning the sun came out. I drove down my neighborhood street and noticed a house I’d never seen before. It was always there. I just noticed it for the first time. That perfect moment when the sunlight streamed a certain way and hit that house at a certain angle made me realize it was even there. If I happened to drive by a minute later or a minute sooner. Well, I wouldn’t have noticed it. Again.
I think that’s how it is for us writers. Sometimes our manuscripts fall in the shadows. Sometimes in that perfect moment some editor notices. All it takes is the right moment, the right editor on a given day where our story stands out. It’s a beautiful thing when it happens. It just doesn’t happen very often.
I’ve had a few magazine articles published and just finished a middle grade novel. The novel just went out to a dozen or more editors. I’ve determined to journey this with a little help. That’s where all of you fit in. Whoever you are. Most children’s publishers will write on thier guidelines that they receive thousands on manuscript submissions yearly. That’s a lot of rejection letters. Or the new thing is to be ignored all together. To me … that doesn’t seem very nice. I know they’re swamped. But still.
Tell me your stories of rejection. One day the light will fall at the exact right moment and we’ll be discovered. Until then … like they say in showbiz we can keep hoping. Because it’s “all in the lighting.”
Today it snowed. Not the pretty kind. The clean white blanket where the trees look like powdered sugar sprinkled them. Not that kind. The gross wet slushy kind. And it matches my mood.
This blog is about writing. It’s about rejection. They say writing isn’t for the faint of heart. Truthfully, I AM faint of heart. Who wants to pour days, weeks, YEARS into words, pages, dripping in sentence structure and voice? To write the perfect cover letter, synopsis and first 10 pages. That’s all they accept nowadays. And then REJECTION.
I just received a rejection letter from Harcourt. I’m a children’s book writer. I can’t complain … well I can. But I shouldn’t exactly because I have been published. But before I get into any of that, today I’d like to be sad about my rejection. And I LOVE that I get to be sad with all of you. Whoever you are. Tell me about your rejection. I want to know. I really do. Somehow it’ll make me feel better.
It stopped snowing and now it’s REALLY cold. Our puppy is wagging his tail cuz his brother just got home from school. So that’s my cue. Time to be a mommy.
I will keep you posted about my future rejections. They’re coming. I just know it!
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