I had one such opportunity to e-mail my book in its entirety to a senior editor of a well-known company. In the accompanying e-mail I extolled its virtues as per usual, and two weeks later this editor wrote back:
“I love your vivid and creative artwork, but I'm afraid this work is not quite right for my list […]. I wish I could give you more specific feedback but the tremendous number of stories that I receive […] make that difficult.”
So…what does this mean? The first part sounds good, positive, right? Then it’s followed by the rejection.
Looking back at that flow chart from the last post, the negative feedback arrow leads back to “Content edit the book.” Can YOU figure out from the editor’s response what I should edit? Am I editing: the character development, the plot’s set-up or its resolution? What if I edit out what she considered to be the very best passage? What if I unknowingly delete her favorite image thinking it was the weakest one? Did she like or dislike the cheeky sheep? So, how do I improve the work in this vacuum of non-criticism and non-direction?
My flow chart has failed me in today’s publishing industry. So what’s an aspiring author/illustrator to do?