Rejections are sometimes bitter, but rejections are sometimes bittersweet.
Today I got a long awaited response to a picture book exclusive submission. An exclusive is when an acquiring editor/ publishing house is the only one that is sent that particular project. Sometimes this is done as a courtesy and sometime as a contractual obligation as in the case of rights of first refusal (more on this at a later time). It’s a risky move that sometimes pays off and sometimes doesn’t.
Since I’m in the throws of university applications with child #3, I’ll compare it to Early Decision. There’s still Early Decision 2, Early Action, and regular admissions. I tell my son that where he ends up will be great. Now I need to tell myself the same.
If it wasn’t clear what the response was on the exclusive, it wasn’t a yes. It was more of a maybe try something else. This isn’t what I wanted, but it’s better than a no.
Since it’s been several months since I’ve read that manuscript, I also had a look at it again today expecting to see it’s faults. No manuscript is perfect, but I actually really love this story. My agent sent me a follow-up email to tell me she still believes in it too.
There are many reasons for rejections. Sometimes, true enough, there’s a flaw in the manuscript and the rejection comes with feedback. This is actually a win. It’s an industry professional helping you to make your work better. Other times it’s simply ‘not what I was looking for’, ‘too similar to something else’, ‘not with the right editor to champion it’, or ‘not at the right time’.
Stick with it. Rejections come to even the most seasoned writers. Sometimes you learn from them. Sometimes you don’t.
Today I found out my manuscript may simply have another path.