Have you faced rejection on your picture book manuscript/s lately?
Know that subjectivity ALWAYS plays a role in this. What one editor or agent loves another might not (and in this crowded market, 'loving' is almost always a prerequisite for acquisition). Also know that there is nothing you can do about subjectivity.
However, there are many other reasons that rejection might be popping up and these reasons might be fixable. Instead of pouting or giving up or trashing a good idea out of frustration or saying "it must be THEM and not my work!" (I've NEVER done any of those things, nuh uh), become a detective and piece together some clues as to why this might be happening.
So what about the clues?
Let's look at the following submission tips from the Rutgers University Council on Children One-on-One Plus Conference. To be part of this mentoring-based conference, a creator needs to submit work and have it selected. Check out their insights about why certain picture books were not selected last year. For more information on the RUCCs One-on-One Plus Conference, click here.
Apply these clues to currently published mentor texts and you'll see patterns emerge. Study these patterns and you'll see where you can improve your picture book manuscript and resubmit.
C'mon Sherlock. You got this.
What are the clues you use, my picture book writer friends?
I'm sharing a humorous sad-but-true Rejection Bingo post created by Zachary Petit.
This is one game I'd rather not win!
If you are a writer, you have to learn to deal with rejection. It is just part of the landscape. Here are two posts about rejection that might ease the sting. The first is by Darcy Pattison, an author who I appreciate for her honesty and insight. And, this post from Writer's Digest's Wendy Burt-Thomas may help decipher what the rejection is trying to tell you. (It is NOT telling you to quit, by the way.)
Wanna play? Share a tidbit from a rejection letter in the comments section. You can go incognito if you want or make up a name. (Your street name is your first name and your favorite pet is your last.)
I'll go first. This is an actual sentence from a rejection letter I received 12 months after submission: I'm embarrassed to say this manuscript was never read and I don't intend to read it now because I am leaving this position. All the best to you.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye."
-- Miss Piggy
Let it be known I am not condoning violence. A giggle or two is acceptable, however.
You'd be proud of me. I didn't stomp on my husband's toes when he read my most recent rejection letter and said, "Your rejections are getting better and better."
It is nice when an editor, especially one at the top of her game, takes the time to point out the positives in a manuscript. And the negatives. (Darn those negatives. Darn.)
Thank you, Ms. Top of Her Game Editor. You made my day.
This blog shares insights on the craft of writing children's books and the publishing industry, and supports creators and educators on their journeys.