I followed to the letter what I was told to do: Don’t just send the work cookie-cutter style to them in the hopes they recognize your brilliance, but make sure MY BRILLIANCE is the exact match to that they seek. I agonized over finding the unique commonality between my book and each company I chose. I hemmed and hawed at what angle to take: do I highlight how my quirky artwork is similar to such-and-such they published last year, or do I emphasize the historical basis of the symbol itself, not unlike so-and-so from the New York Times bestsellers? I painstakingly wrote each covering letter with what I hoped was the right amount of logic, marketing and pizazz necessary to show them just how perfect a match we were.
When the waiting period was over, I told myself “It’s not you, it’s them.” But before sending the next submission, I took the opportunity to change wording, tweak an illustration, to fix the thing/s that bugged me, for maybe this was also the very thing that led to Rejection.
In the silence of “No-feedback” land, there is A LOT that is said. And they’re all different forms of “Rejected.” At the conferences they tell us the world of children’s book publishing is a dash of trend, a heap of market-ability, a cup of sale-ability, all thrown into a base made of flawless writing and art. In all the years I have been working on and vetting my book (as you have read), I’ve only ever received positive feedback about my work. So I began to wonder, would my half-this, half-that creature ever be in vogue? Would a book starring Asian kids ever become worthy enough for a publishing company to invest in? Would MY style of artwork be considered IN style someday? Would a book about caring for one another NEVER be cliche?
The truth is that whatever formula a best-selling author has come up with at the point in time where his/her book explodes into fame, it’s an extremely fickle and elusive formula. Understand that while thousands of books are published each year, millions of GREAT books are actually written. So the best thing to do is have faith in your book, keep calm, and carry on.