Although CBAY is still accepting picture book submissions through the end of the month, we will begin contacting the people whose submissions we’ve already read starting tomorrow.

That means that starting tomorrow, some people will begin to receive rejection letters.

Yes, the dreaded rejection letter.

Unfortunately, the reality is that most submissions will have to be rejected. We’re looking for 1, maybe 2, manuscripts at this time, and we’ve already received 20 or 30 times that. And submissions have only been open for 2 days.

With that having been said, please keep the following in mind. (And this is true of any rejection letter you may ever receive either from me or anyone else):

  • Do not take it personal.
    Form letters, especially, are the most impersonal thing you can get. However, most of the time what they say on them — that “Your manuscript does not meet our needs at this time” — is literally what they mean. I’ve personally read every submissions so far, and I can tell you that not a single one of them is irredeemable. In fact there are several good stories out there that will still be receiving form rejections simply because they either do not fit in with our list or was a short story manuscript instead of a picture book manuscript. There was nothing wrong with the writing or style. They just literally don’t “meet our needs at this time.”
  • Do not be insulted by a form rejection.
    I did the math the other day. A form rejection takes 2-3 minutes to do. A short personal rejection can take 15 minutes or more. So, let’s say pick a number and say I (well, Intern) have 100 rejections to do. Even with a form rejection, that’s going to take us 300 minutes or 5 hours to get out. Personal rejections would take at a minimum 25 hours. We don’t have 3 work days to dedicate to rejection letters. It’s just not feasible. So, as depressing and soul-sucking as form rejections are for both us and you, it’s a necessary evil. Pretty much all publishing houses eventually have to succumb to them.
  • Do not let them deter you from writing.
    Like I said above, a rejection letter does not mean you can’t write or will never get published. It just means that that particular work is not right for that editor or agent. Keep looking for that perfect match. Do not give up. (Personally, I don’t know a single author who has never received a single rejection for something. I know I have.)

I know rejections are a miserable occasion, and although you might not believe it, we dislike them just as much as you. No one likes to disappoint others. However, it’s one of the reasons we are going to try to start getting them out so quickly. We don’t want you sitting around waiting on us when you could be submitting your work to someone else.

© Copyright 2006-2011 Madeline Smoot. All rights reserved.
May be excerpted and duplicated for educational purposes.
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