Friday, January 22, 2010

Rejection # 1 (sort of)

Okay, so yesterday I submitted one of my new PBs to Adams Literary (they take online submissions). TODAY I got a rejection e-mail. Wow, that was fast. Especially since they say you should expect to hear from them in 3-4 months. Really, was it THAT bad?

Here's the thing. I also submitted "Sally Circle" to them on Dec. 28 2009 and I never did receive a rejection via e-mail. Do you guys know what that means? Have they just forgotten about it? Are they considering it? Basically wondering if that's a good or bad sign. I mean, they were extraordinarily quick to dismiss "Baby Dragon" but I still haven't heard anything about "Sally Circle" and it's almost been a month.



DenaDaw said...

ick feeling discouraged again. I just remembered that Sally Circle was an "non-exclusive" submission and the one that was rejected was exclusive. I'm sure that has something to do with it. Well, crap.

Tammy said...

Don't give up.... it's still out there, which means it's still possible. If it comes back, then you know it wasn't the right place for you. I've read that 'Field of Dreams' was rejected 29 times. At least your submitting.... I'm not quite there yet.

eecoburn said...

I have two thoughts -- one, as far as I can tell from your posts, you are cranking out manuscripts very quickly (good!), but also submitting them very quickly (dangerous). Everybody writes differently, and some people are very good at revising as they go, but if you just completed a draft of Baby Dragon on the 17th, it would be highly unusual for it to be ready to submit by the 21st. Have you had it (and the cover letter) looked over carefully by at least two critque partners that you really respect? Have you storyboarded the manuscript to find out if you have a story that can support at least 12 to 15 dynamic, interesting illustrations, and has 12 to 15 great page turns? Have you pared the word count down to the least possible number before actually doing damage to the story? Have you put the manuscript away for a week (at least) so you can look at it with fresh eyes? Have you looked at current booklists of publishers and agents to find out who is publishing or selling comparable books so that you are targeting the right people? Like I said, I can't tell if you are the exception, but this is the bare minimum for what most writers have to do (even the published ones) before being ready to submit a manuscript. The thing is, you want to make sure it is just as perfect as possible, because editors and agents, especially in this tough economic climate, are looking for stuff that is as close to perfect as possible. If you send out something that is not ready, then you limit the places that you can send out the truly wonderful version of your story, and you waste a lot of postage.

Two - it is tough, tough, tough to sell PB manuscripts to agents. So, if Baby Dragon was truly ready to send out, don't take a rejection too personally. A lot of agents won't even look at PB's because they get half of what they would usually get for selling a manuscript, because you have to split your royalty with an illustrator. There are some agents (including Adams) that still do take on PB manuscripts, but they are very, very selective (all the more reason to send your very, very best). Many PB writers don't get an agent until they actually sell their first manuscript directly to an editor, or never at all. There is a lot of discussion about agents and PB writers. One good resource is Harold Underdown's excellent site, The Purple Crayon: Look around, he has several articles on agents.

Good luck, Dena!

DenaDaw said...

Yep, I have heard that most picture book authors are not represented by agents. Adams was the only place I have sent out a MS of Baby Dragon because it was an online submission and, by all the advice you've given me, you're right, it was much to early to send it. I had it critiqued by a few people but I hadn't even thought of some of the things you've mentioned. Thankfully, that is the only place I've sent it to and now it's currently being revised and, as you said, set on the shelf for a while. You give totally awesome advice and I really appreciate you coming here and helping me out. When I started this whole thing I had absolutely NO IDEA what I was doing and I shot things out much, much too quickly. I am slowing it down and trying to do it right- I just had no idea of what a PROCESS this is, but now I'm realizing (through things I've been reading/groups I've joined) how naive I have been. But, in the end, I still love writing and coming up with creative PB ideas while lying in bed. Even if the process takes forever, I'm still having fun.
Again, thanks for writing to me! I needed some honest advice and I feel like I've gotten it.

Cyndi said...


eecoburn gives some really good advice. One thing I don't think was mentioned is that your second ms might have been rejected so quickly because they hadn't yet accepted/rejected your first submission. most agencies have a "send us only one ms at a time policy". If they reject your first ms, it is okay to send a different one, but most people advise waiting a couple months at least.

Good luck!

Cyndi (I'm Artemesia at Verla Kay's)

DenaDaw said...

Thanks Cyndi! I had no idea!

eecoburn said...


You are already so far ahead of the pack because you are willing to learn, laugh at mistakes, and keep going! I am not published yet either (been working hard at it for two years), but I totally agree with you --right now, writing is worth doing because it gives me a creative outlet and a bit of "me time" while I am raising my little kids, and I really, really enjoy it. It is disappointing to get rejections, but I know I am getting better and better as a writer, and that is exciting! Once again, Go Dena!

Alleged Author said...

Maybe because of NaNoWriMo the 12/28 one was hidden in the mass of e-queries on their submission page. Or depends on how long both are. I have one in with them right now and expect to be waiting a while. I figure I will check on it in a month when I check on my partials that are out. I found you on agent query! Love finding people to read from there. Good luck!

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