I just found out about two weeks ago that my picture book manuscript was turned down. This is rejection #4. So, back to the drawing board I go. What strategy should I adopt this time? Should I sit down and write version #26? Or should I immediately resubmit the manuscript? Or maybe I should do both?
Once again, perseverance is the name of the game. I had to be willing to work on it until opportunity knocks. Should I start from scratch? Should I simply tweak it? Should I rewrite it for the British market since the first half of the story takes place in Britain? Or should I rewrite it for the American market which is much larger than the Canadian one?
Americans seem to have a much greater sense of history and my story is a historical one. Think about Americana and several images pop into your head: Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, Norman Rockwell. Think about Canadiana and you have to pause. The images are slow to come to you: Sir John A. McDonald, Laura Secord, the Dionne Quintuplets, etc. The images are few and far between.
There is no manual to follow when seeking a publisher. Yes, each publisher has guidelines. But it's not just a matter of following guidelines. It's also about making connections, about being in the right place at the right time, about not just what you know but who you know.
What about the genre? Should I adapt the story book to a chapter book as some experts have suggested? Or should I go with my first love, picture books? Young children need to know about history, not just pre-teens and teens. The Canadian book market already has chapter books about the home children, but no picture books to my knowledge.
Sixteen years ago I was told by my general practitioner that I would never find a healthy baby to adopt. I took great joy when I walked into her office the next year with a bouncing baby boy. Naysayers say that I will never get my picture book published. I hope to sell it to them one day.
As Karen Ball said at our Write! Canada this weekend: Be persistent. Be patient. Be plugged in. I know God will show me the way.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5)