Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Heads-up: the postage rates may change before your SASE is mailed back to you

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.

8 comments:

Tess said...

ah....I have been there more than once. That quizzical look as I pull the envelope out of my mailbox. The scouring of the brain for a clue of what I might have sent. Of course, two years might win you a 'patience' trophy. I think I've had up to 18 months, but not quite a full two years.

And, when I got that 18 month later response, I laughed outright at the rejection. Like, "no duh!"

Michelle said...

Tess, it wasn't patience so much as forgetting!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Hi Michelle,
I saw over at Nathan's you're a PRINCESS BRIDE fan. Me too! :)

Michelle said...

Caroline, I made Sarah read it. She's big into YA fairy tales, like Shannon Hale. She hadn't read it, and of course the book is even funnier than the movie. I love how Buttercup's parents keep score.

MissV said...

Try using Forever Stamps on your SASE so that if the rates go up you're covered.

I can't wait to get to the querying stage.

Amy Tate said...

Good gracious! Two years? Wow. I'm glad it was a good rejection, and that they wanted to use it, but that's a little ridiculous. I've signed up for Querytracker, but I haven't utilized it yet. Like you, I lose track of stuff when it takes that long! Thanks for the tip.

Michelle said...

Amy, I have an Excel file for this sort of thing. (Stop laughing, Sarah!) But I also have a file where I save copies of cover/query letters, so for this I looked at the date on the original cover letters.

prashant said...

I love how Buttercup's parents keep score.
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