This week I finished a pretty horrifying but interesting proposal that was requested based on a query. Here’s how it works much of the time for nonfiction projects: you pitch an idea to a publisher that is accepting queries only. First you make sure they haven’t done anything like it and yet you feel it will fit into their publishing program. Then you write an exciting query that reflects your enthusiasm about the subject, and wait. If they say okay, then follow their guidelines for a proposal, get it done, and hope for the best!
So I turned in the horrifying proposal, then worked on a poem for a contest. The due date was October 31 but hey! I would have made it, but I noticed on their website that it was extended until tomorrow. So yeah, I put it aside and did other work, like that horrifying proposal.
Meanwhile today, there was good news and there was bad news. The good news is in the photo above. Jeep the dawg is showing off a wonderful book of photos and captions that a 2nd grade class sent to me as a thank you for the books I sent to them. Back up a bit: I got to know this class because one of the 7-year old students wrote to me about a mistake in my fictional book Butterfly Spring. She pointed out that I had the butterfly emerge from a cocoon and everyone knows that they emerge from a chrysalis! Okay, they also don’t talk, but that wasn’t the point and she was absolutely right. I thanked her and sent my pop-up books to the class and got this wonderful little album as a thank-you note.
This sweet gift was especially nice to receive since today I received a rejection on another nonfiction proposal. This was also requested. Another project was rejected but the editor was interested in a spin-off that would fit into a series. Alas, she gently let me know that she had been unaware that a similar project was already in the works, so had to reject it because while not the same subject exactly, the books would compete with each other. It happens.
As the volunteer regional advisor for the SCBWI Oregon, I spent over 20 years attempting to convince writers and illustrators that the only way to keep on in this business is to treasure the love and the victories, and let rejection be a teacher. I already sent the first project elsewhere, and I can reformat this spin-off proposal for someone else. Or I can just get started on the next one, I do have a long list of them. Whatever I do, I’ll keep on keepin’ on, one day at a time, and treasure the love.