Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rejection revisited

Okay, I admit it. I'm not a completely nice person. If I was, I wouldn't write this post. So if you're someone who only likes to read kind-hearted remarks, or who wants to think of me as completely generous and forgiving, don't read on. (What, there's no one who thinks I'm perfect?)

If, on the other hand, you share a certain childish delight in having the chance to say, "See there! You were wrong!" please join me in reviewing comments from some of the 18 misguided editors who rejected Maggie's Monkeys.

(Okay, I admit it. Lots of the editors were very kind. And just because they didn't connect with the book or saw flaws in it doesn't mean they were wrong. It just means the book wasn't a good fit for them. Can I stop being a mature, rational grown-up now and go back to reveling in having had the last laugh?)

The hardest ones to take are the "however" and "unfortunately" ones -- rejections that praise the story and then say it" just doesn't work" for them or their list. MM got lots of form rejections, but here's what some of the editors who offered comments had to say:
  • Nice humor but not quite right for us.
  • You have presented an interesting and creative idea, and I appreciate your sharing it with me. Unfortunately, though, I'm afraid I don't see a place in our publishing program for this project.
  • Though we (editor and editorial director) find the story very appealing we don't feel it quite works as a picture book.
  • Imaginary friends are a universal experience of childhood and a family of pink monkeys living in the refrigerator is a funny idea.... Unfortunately, though, I didn't find the middle or end satisfying.
  • You have such a keen ear and eye for the real details of a child's life. I love the way you capture the sibling relationship. And I wish I could support you on this manuscript, but I'm afraid it isn't quite my taste. I find the story a bit slender, and I'm not sure it's the kind of story a child would turn to again and again.
  • While many aspects of the story are fun, I feel the ending isn't satisfying.
  • Andy [Jack was originally named Andy] and his family are appealing characters and your dialogue is snappy and believable. However... we can only take the manuscripts that -- for whatever reason -- especially appeal to our editors.
I'd like to believe some of these editors have seen the book and the generally nice reviews and are kicking themselves. But I know better than to think they're keeping track of such things.

And I also know they still have the edge on me. Because I have more than 200 other rejections for which I haven't had the last laugh.

At least not yet.