Maybe Next Time…

lambslions

Well, I finally heard from the publisher today.  My manuscript made it through the slush pile and through editing, but the folks in acquisitions decided to pass on it.

I won’t pretend I’m not deeply disappointed.  I’ve been riding this cautiously hopeful wave for months, only to sink right before reaching the shore.  What I want to do most right now is to sit on the porch and watch the grass grow.

I will allow myself a brief period of mourning for what might have been.  I’ll wait until the house is empty and I’ll shed a few tears.  Maybe a lot of tears.  Then I’ll get over it.

In the next couple of days, I’ll change the manuscript back to its original form.  I wasn’t thrilled with the change the editor requested and felt it interrupted the flow of the story.  Changing it was a business decision on my part, not an artistic one.  No doubt, an editor at another publishing house will want different changes anyway.

While I regret the outcome, I appreciate the experience I’ve had.  I received affirmation of my writing skills.  The next time I’m asked to revise a manuscript, I won’t feel quite as panicked as I did the first time, resulting in a headache that didn’t go away until the revision was done.  I can revise on demand.  I also learned that editors aren’t monsters.  I was treated with respect from start to finish.  In spite of the sadness I feel right now, I also feel like I’ve found my professional footing.  This is the business side of writing.  In retrospect, I feel good about the interaction I’ve had with this publisher over the last several months.  In the past, I’ve received a couple of form rejection letters or (for the most part) no response at all.  I guess I would call this progress.  Painful progress.

I believe that in a situation like this, inaction would be a mistake.  I know how easy it would be to just shut down and adopt an “it will never happen for me” attitude.  It will do me no good to sit in a corner, eating worms.  This is probably the point at which many a good writer has given up entirely and silenced their own voice forever.  I’m making a conscious decision not to take that route, though right now I feel like I’m trying to dance in knee-deep mud.

Time to start, once again, looking for publishers and agents accepting unsolicited manuscripts.  Time to finish the sequel to Winthrop Risk, Detective (I’ve decided to keep that series in the self-publishing realm).  Time to open up the purple box and see the story nuggets I’ve buried there.

If I never achieve publication of my picture books, it certainly won’t be because I gave up.  There’s no adventure in surrender.

robinhood

 

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jacqui Murray
    Sep 03, 2019 @ 15:16:58

    I had a similar experience several years ago with a book I wrote. I did end up self-publishing and I’m happy about that. Good luck with your book! I’ll see if I can find it on Amazon.

    Reply

    • MJ Belko
      Sep 03, 2019 @ 17:48:48

      I can’t self-publish the picture books because I can’t draw and there’s no money to hire an illustrator. Unfortunately, I’ll have to keep shopping those around to publishers. The Winthrop Risk stories (book 2 is in the works) will stay in the self-published realm.

      Reply

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