A couple of weeks ago, I sent out three bound copies of the manuscript for one of my children's books. I had spent six months getting the book illustrated, writing and re-writing, sweating over every word. Since printing services are expensive and I wanted it to look good for submission, I only got five copies printed up. I gave one to my mother, who always wanted me to write a book, kept one for myself, and mailed three out to publishing houses, with self-addressed, stamped envelopes enclosed, so that they would send me back the manuscript if they weren't interested.
Today, way too soon, I saw Justin bringing in the mail with a familiar envelope in one hand. Holiday House had passed on my book without even reading it. It didn't even make it to the slush pile. Oh the sadness! I was expecting rejection letters - God knows most writers get rejected hundreds of times before someone finally agrees to take them on - but rejection so soon? It hurts when you can't even get someone to open the cover of your manuscript to take a look at the story.
I've been told by my illustrator that getting that return envelope probably means that they just have way too many manuscripts being submitted right now and I shouldn't take it personally. I picture a Dilbert type drone with pit stains under the arms of his short sleeved, mustard colored dress shirt and big huge glasses sitting in a cubicle somewhere, stuffing hopeful writers' manuscripts back in their envelopes with the one line rejection letter and tossing them on the outgoing mail pile.
Okay, yes, I agree with Chris' statement 100% and I'm not taking it personally at all. If anything, it only makes me more determined to somehow break into this publishing world without having to pay for it myself. Self-publishing is great, but you just don't get the exposure for your book that you're going to get if an actual publishing house puts it out. Plus, you have to charge more for the book to try to make up the cost for the self-publisher. I'd really rather not go that route. I don't want to have to ask my friends and family to pay for copies of my book. That's just not cool.
I am waiting on the other two publishers to return my manuscripts with a polite "no, thank you" letter and will then go back to my trusty Children's Writer's Market and find another three to try. And I am currently working on a new story that I will probably mail out unillustrated to as many publishers as possible. I also have another three manuscripts I wrote last year in the word processor that I could work on and send out as well. I am far from thinking there is no hope.
That first rejection though...very sad.