Sometimes I am still shocked by how slowly the children's publishing industry moves. Seriously.
I got a manila envelope in the mail yesterday. I recognized the address label on it as one of my own. A SASE. I haven't sent out anything small enough to fit in that envelope in a long time. It was a rejection letter and returned manuscript. A picture book manuscript.
Now if you've been reading Slushbusters for a while, you know that I primarily have been writing for middle grade. I'm working on the second draft of my second middle grade novel manuscript. So I started questioning myself when I opened this envelope. Did I see something on a blog or in a publication a few months ago that prompted me to send out this story? I just couldn't remember. So I checked the computer.
I queried this publisher in January of 2008. They apparently asked to see the MS, because I have a follow up letter dated March 15, 2008, which acted as a cover letter for the manuscript when I sent it. They've had it in hand for over two years. They do have an explanation, which I guess falls under the category of "good rejections" They were waiting to see if their list would have an opening to accommodate my story. They have decided to go with something else.
The lessons in this?Keep track of your submissions. Once you submit something, don't rest on your laurels. Please. Keep writing and working and growing and living your life. I know that once you put that perfect, neatly printed envelope in the mail for the first time, you want to wait by the phone. Don't do it. Even if they think they're interested, you never know. And for goodness sake, buy "forever" stamps. The last thing you want is to get a rejection letter with postage due. Trust me.