Thursday, January 22, 2009


Twelve weeks ago I sent out seven queries+manuscripts for my children’s book. I think it’s safe to say at this point that I’ve gotten all of the responses that I am going to get: which is to say, precisely one.

That lonely reply was a boomerang (what I call the rejections that come back so fast you just know they couldn’t possibly have made it to New York and back); one of those preprinted form letters, barely a half-sheet of paper, which read something like:

“Dear Author/Illustrator (because we can’t be bothered to distinguish between the two of you), We are sorry to tell you that your manuscript doesn’t seem right for our list (because it sucks, or, possibly, because we didn’t read it). We are grateful to you for thinking of us (really, we are) and we wish you the best of luck in finding a publisher (as long as it’s some other sorry bastard) for your work. Sincerely, Editorial Department (or more likely some slightly depressive 19-year-old intern who thought she’d made it in the big apple until she found herself slaving away ten hours a day for soup money in a cubicle wearing her roommate’s borrowed heels).”

The sad news is that this crumpled mass-produced rejection letter counts as tremendous feedback compared to the deafening silence from the other six publishers.

I read in TIME magazine today that Stephanie Meyer sent out something like nine queries, got three rejections, five non-answers and one interested person. We hear these stories all of the time; they are meant to buoy us, apparently. I just think it’s pathetic and depressing. Can the publishing world not be bothered to reject us with the SASE we supply? But: none of that nasty negativity, now. We shall forge on, in search of an actual human being to one day read our slaved-over words and perhaps even tell us what they thought of them.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah - whenever I hear of an online writing buddy who starts submitting and gets 5 requests for a full her first week, or some such thing, I immediately drop her from my friend list. JK. But, I have to admit, my finger does hover over the delete button for a few seconds. Following other writer's successes can be both inspirational and detrimental. It would be so much easier to be happy for other people's triumphs if we'd already tasted our own.