Workshop Transcript

Why Writers Get Rejected

with Adrianne Fitzpatrick


berries Close Window to Return

PrincessSt: How long till we start?

Verla: should be about 7 minutes...but abbey isn't here yet

Note: Actual workshop begins at Red Message below...

Verla: Hello good2u, welcome to #Kidlit -- where children's writers gather and chat nightly. We hope you enjoy your visit with us. Please jump right in and talk to us. Don't wait for a break, because we talk as much as we write!

Verla: yeah! there it is! I finally got my welcome message back.

Verla: Now. We just need our guest of honor to show up.

Verla: you seen abbey, lyra?

Lyra_: nope, Verla

Verla: she's not here yet. GULP

Verla: Gulp. anyone seen abbey?

Verla: and the workshop is ready to start

Lyra_: Well, it IS tomorrow her time

MelLane: Give her another 10 minutes.

Verla: yes, it's about noon her time -- tomorrow!

ASM: Got a question before we start, why are some posts (or whatever they're called) in blue?

Verla: That might be actions, asm

Amishka: It's just the way you set it up on your colours options Bunny

MelLane: blue?

Verla: Like this one...

Verla is this blue?

ASM: Yep!

good2u: Yeah, how do you do that??

SRW says cause Verla is emotional

Verla: That's an "action"

Amishka: I have my own in blue

Amishka: Actions are red on my screen


Verla: and your name will be where the /me is

MelLane: Verla, you BEAT me!

Verla: like this

Verla jumps up and down

Amishka jumps up and down because Verla jumped on my foot

PrincessStinky passes muppet baby band-aids to Mish

Verla apologizes to ami and begs forgiveness

Amishka forgives Verla this time

*** Amishka is now known as EmpressoftheWorld

Verla: LOL ami!

NOTE: LOL = Laughing Out Loud

Lyra_: hmmm...what's been going on in this royal room?

PrincessSt: A little boy told me today that I was his princess, Lyra :) So we decided I should be one.

Lyra_: bowing to PrincessStinky

PrincessStinky smiles graciously

Verla: now we need a queen....

good2u: That's you Verla

Lyra_: I could do a workshop called -- you finished your book and have the empty desk syndrone, now what?

Verla: Hooray for lyra! Finished her fifth Regeneration book and mailed it off to her editor today!!!!!

Empressoft: Lyra can be queen empty

Lyra_: LOL

Empressoft: Queen Idealess of the Afterthought

MelLane: LOL! Lyra -- start on book #SIX, so I can still live with my children.

Lyra_: I DO know the beginning of #6 -- 100 years in the future

Verla: huh? In the future, lyra? Wow!

PrincessSt: will that eliminate chances of book number 7?

Lyra_: nope, Stinky -- 7 will feature the wicked Dr. Eugene Poole

Verla: don't tell! don't Tell!, lyra!

Lyra_: okay, V

SRW: Great Lyra!!!

Ramoth: Gene Pool, huh?

Lyra_: Ramoth--yep, you got my pun -- in my GHOST series I had a teacher named Augusta Wynde

Ramoth: cute, Lyra

PrincessSt: oh Leslie, you're so clever, I didn't get that at all. Must have been the hanging around with 6 year olds all day that did it to me :)

Ramoth: You should know by now that I have a warped mind, stink.

PrincessSt: not warped Leslie, clever :)

Lyra_: Do you know that by changing <my type style from> courier to times roman I lost 45 pages?

SRW: yeah, that happens Lyra

Lyra_: So now I didin't write such a long book ... like I planned (g)

NOTE: (g) = GRIN

SRW: You can also set your computer up to an exact amount of lines, like 25 lines per page instead of doing double spaced.

ASM: hey, Lyra, do you know how I can get my library to carry your books? I've been reading about them and want to actually read them but I'm a tightwad moneywise

MelLane: ASM, the books are VERY affordable.

Lyra_: ASM--just tell the librarian - point out how they are good for reluctant readers

Verla: Just go in and tell them you've heard fabulous things about them and ask them to order them, ASM. That's what I did at my library and they got them

PrincessSt: You must buy them asm

MelLane: Even *I* can afford them!

Empressoft: Ask your librarian to order them Asm

MelLane: They run about $3.50 eacht at Wal-Mart.

ASM: Hey, even *I, madam tightwad* can do $3.50, I guess

Empressoft: Unless you're in Canada

Empressoft: then they are $6.50

PrincessSt: yup that's true Ami

Federici: What are the titles of the books are you talking about?

Lyra_: My series is REGENERATION by L.J. Singleton

Empressoft: It's a fantastic series so everyone go buy it

Empressoft: and tell your friends to buy it

PrincessSt: After the workshop everyone runs out to the bookstore...!

Federici: Sounds interesting. Are they futuristic?

Verla: Now I'm getting worried.

Verla: No Abbey

Verla: We should have started by now.

Verla: :-(

good2u: Well, could we do a workshop anyhow??

Verla: We will, good.

MelLane: Give her another 5 minutes, V, then we can start something. (g)


Lyra_: Verla -- I don't mind helping out for some kind of discussion

Lyra_: lyra points at her thick rejection box...I know about rejection!

Verla: We will just start without her and she can join in and take over when/if she shows up.

good2u: oK

MelLane: Ok, Verla.

*** Verla has set the topic on channel #Kidlit to Why Writers Get Rejected workshop in Session

Verla: the rules of our workshops are very simple

Verla: Welcome to our weekly Kidlit Workshop. We ask that you hold all personal chit-chat until the hour is up, but Please! Free free to join in the topic currently under discussion.

Empressoft: I got a rejection on <Name of Story> from Viking

Ramoth: Oh, that's too bad, ami. I think it's a good one.

ASM: I'm anxiously awaiting my first rejection!

Verla: my first rejection devastated me!

Lyra_: Rejections improve with the writer's skill

ASM: I got thick skin

Verla: I was so shocked. I really, REALLY believed that *I* would be picked up immediately.

MelLane: Me, too, Verla.

Empressoft: Well this is on topic Verla

Empressoft: Rejections

Verla: yes, it is, empress

Verla: Now, of course, I understand better why I was rejected.

Lyra_: I wrote an article once called Rating your Rejections -- they had different meanings

NOTE: This article, Rating your Rejections, can be read on this website on the Writers' Tips page

Verla: Okay...let's talk about reasons for rejections...

new_^Rach: bad story

Verla: good one, rach

Verla: It's the same old, same old, same old story the publisher has seen 396,000 times in the last year

MelLane: I sent my first draft. (g) Didn't revise it. I was so sure after the ms was requested, I would get accepted!

Verla: yes, mel. Not polished enough

Verla: Not a strong enough story (we'll talk about that in a while)

Empressoft: Not enough layers

Federici: I read in an article just yesterday that less than 1% of all work submitted is actually published. Is that an accurate statistic?

SRW: In the Christian market, it's like 5%-10% of what's submitted, but remember, people submit things to more than one publisher. Take that into account with the numbers.

Verla: sent to the wrong house!

Empressoft: hand written

Empressoft: adding terrible pictures to a picture book

good2u: Or sending pics with mss

NOTE: pics = pictures/artwork

NOTE: mss = manuscripts

Empressoft: not researching the publishers

MelLane: Did you know the number one reason mss are rejected is appearance?

PrincessSt: What do you mean Mel?

SRW: and wrong fonts, can get an instant send-back

Empressoft: Not in proper format

Verla: not formatted properly probably won't get you rejected...but it won't help you get accepted, either

Verla: Editors WANT to find a "jewel" of a manuscript

Ramoth: Sounds realistic

Lyra_: Editors are also looking for books that will win awards and/or be recommended by librarians

Verla: but it's expensive to publish!

Verla: One picture book...first print run...costs a publishing house between $50,000 and $80,000 to publish. They have to really LOVE one to take that kind of risk with a brand new author!

Empressoft: are rejections getting nicer or am I just special?

Empressoft: The editor said she liked the humor tone <in the rejection I just got> but thought it was too much of a one joke story.

Empressoft: She thought it should be deeper - one reason for being rejected

Verla: that would go along with not strong enough, too, empress

MelLane: I'm re-reading FIRST FIVE PAGES -- great book on what editors/agents look at to reject mss.

ASM: Mel, who wrote that one,do you know?

MelLane: Let me go get it.

ASM: No, Mel, you can't leave your keyboard, (joking!)

MelLane: The author is Noah Lukeman.

ASM: Thanks, Mel!

MelLane: welcome.

ASM: Verla, I've got a book I want done in vinyl (that's the reason I wrote it) Does that fit into the too expensive catagory?

Empressoft: a bath book ASM?

ASM: Actually, it's a *chewing* book, It's all about babies about 6 months old--where they put *EVERYTHING* in their mouths--that's my hook in my cover

Verla: That would be a novelty book, ASM...and needs to be sent to a publisher that does novelty books. And it's my understanding that most of those are done by packagers, by the way...

Verla: Lyra can tell you how packagers work in relation to the pubishers

Verla: are on

Lyra_: Those aren't the kind of packagers I work for, but basically packagers work for publishers -- doing most of the job, then delivering the product

Lyra_: You submit to packagers just like a regular publisher, although sometimes you can ask to do work they assign

Verla: I believe it's pretty much the same thing, though, lyra

MelLane: Do packagers only do series books, Lyra?

good2u: No they do novelites and pop ups too.

Lyra_: Packagers tend to hire their own authors -- it's a situation where networking helps, going to conferences, etc.

Lyra_: yes, good -- different genres for packagers. I only worked for series

ASM: Showing my ignorance here---what exactly is a 'packager'?

Lyra_: It's a middle company that publishers contract out to, then they package the whole "book" by hiring authors, editing, doing covers

Lyra_: SCBWI had a list of packagers (not sure how updated it is) also CWIM notes in their publisher listings if it's a packager

NOTE: SCBWI is the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators

NOTE: CWIM = Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market guidebook, available through any bookstore, including on-line bookstores. This book is considered by most children's writers to be *the* book to get to research markets for submissions

ASM: Also, how does one find a packager to submit to?

NOTE: No one had an answer to this question.

auntgeorge: Do packagers give bylines?

Lyra_: It depends on the book -- people that write Nancy Drews don't get bylines, people who write for TV series like Sabrina, get bylines

Verla: NOW I'm embarrassed!

NOTE: Verla was having technical problems logging this workshop and accidentally flooded the room with previous text. The flood caused her to be kicked out of the chat room by the automatic device that protects the chat room from crashers and hackers.

ASM: Verla, now I don't feel bad being new!

Verla: We all do dumb things, ASM...some of us dumber than others. (I win the prize today!)

new_^Rach: do new authors get rejected? Even if their story is good?

Empressoft: Not always

SRW: Yes, Field of Dreams was rejected 29 times.

Ramoth: It's just risky for a publisher to take a chance on a new author.

Empressoft: If your story is good, really good, it won't get rejected automatically

Lyra_: actually editors love to discover new authors -- in some cases a new author has a better chance because of this

Verla: If your story is good enough, won't get rejected.

ASM: I have hope!!!

new_^Rach: thank you, thank you!

Verla: My first book was pulled from the slushpile at Putnam. Two months after I sent it, I got THE phone call saying, "We LOVE your story and want to publish it!"

Verla: (That book is the one coming out this October, by the way...Covered Wagons, Bumpy Trails.)

MelLane: Right book, right publisher, right time.

MelLane: So *hard* to do!

Empressoft: exactly Mel

good2u: That's really it mel.

ASM: Well, after all Verla, it *IS* great!

Verla: Hey, you haven't even seen it yet, ASM....THAT book still isn't published!

Verla: The first book that came out was my SECOND book to be accepted.

ASM: Well, the 2 out (Gold Fever and Iron Horses) ARE great!

MelLane: Nevertheless, Verla, I *know* it's a great book.

Verla: and the second book to come out (Iron Horses) is my THIRD book to be accepted.

Verla: the THIRD book to come out (Oct 9th) will finally be my FIRST book ... the one that was pulled from the slushpile

NOTE: It is taking 6 years to see that first book in print. The acceptance phone call came in 1994!

SRW: Verla, do you have any books you've written that you HAVEN'T been able to sell yet?

Verla: LOL LOL LOL! Yes, sus...LOTS of them. Some that I really really believe are good books, too. Books that teachers and librarians have told me they can't wait to get their hands on...but so far, the publishers haven't wanted them.

ASM: So, your *secret*, Verla? How do we get out of the slush pile?

Empressoft: You write a fantastic story ASM

ASM: Well, besides, that, EOTW.

MelLane: EOTW?

NOTE: We never did find out what EOTW stood for.

Lyra_: Verla worked hard studying through the mail writing course -- I think that really strengthened her already good writing

Verla: First...write the BEST story you can. Solid plot line, good story, something different in it, unusual...not like every other story you've ever seen

Verla: Most new writers start at the beginning and build a story to the end. That's a good plan except...they usually put in a lot of unnecessary "stuff" at the beginning. Things that can be cut out of the story without it hurting the story one bit

Verla: example:

Verla: Johnny woke up to see the sun shining

Verla: He got out of bed, brushed his teeth, got dressed and went downstairs

SRW: Told too much of what Johnny did, things that weren't necessary.

Verla: WHAM! The back door slammed as he walked into the kitchen. Johnny ran over to the door and peeked out...there was an elephant in his yard!

SRW: More powerful Verla.

Verla: Now this story starts with the word WHAM! But the new author will often put the other stuff in "set the scene"

Verla: forget setting the scene. Start with the action. With the "day or the moment that is different."

Verla: For a new author to get accepted...I think you need to do something different. You need to stand out from the pack

Dani257: Different how?

Verla: My cryptic rhyme was what was "different" enough to get me pulled from the slushpile

Verla: it also got me 3 1/2 years of rejections before I found a publisher that saw the same thing I did in it!

Dani257: What if you don't have a different style?

Verla: Then you need to make your *story* different, dani

auntgeorge: VK do you think being able to say you had a book accepted helped to prevent a rejection?

Verla: Not really, ag. I know I've gotten lots of rejections since getting accepted. And some of them are for stories I feel are just as good, if not better, than the ones that have been accepted.

new_^Rach: What are the most common reasons new authors get rejected?

Empressoft: newbie mistakes

good2u: Wrong story to the wrong publishing place.

Empressoft: Telling not showing or not leaving enough showing for the illustrator in the case of a pb

NOTE: pb = picture book

MelLane: For me, it was not revising, rewriting. I thought my stories were perfect just the way they were.

SRW: Me, too, Mel. <G>

Lyra_: Rewriting is a key to good writing

MelLane: True -- and I look at rewriting/revising like icing a cake..... you do it over and over until you get it *just so*.

MelLane: If you're Verla Kay. Grin. (just kidding)

NOTE: MelLane is teasing Verla here because she knows it has taken Verla several years of editing to get each of her books "just right" and ready for publication.

Ramoth: I edit more than I write!

new_^Rach: Can you have illustrator notes?

good2u: I don't think so Rach. The publishers have their own illustrators and ideas for that.

Verla: You can, Rach...but it's best to avoid them if at all possible. Editor's don't usually look kindly on author "interference" with the illustrator's part of the picture book process.

Empressoft: Not getting a professional critique is one mistake

Federici: How do you get a professional critique?

good2u: Doesn't SCBWI do professional critiques?

new_^Rach: Were do you get critiques if there are no critique groups?

Amishka: Federici - form a critique group of writers that write what you write

Federici: I belong to a critique group that mostly writes PB's but I write MG. Where do I find one for my genre?

NOTE: PB = Picture Book MG = Mid Grade Novel

MelLane: Fed: Ask the CW list -- or the yellow board.

MelLane: Or ask a few writers you know and trust.

Federici: What is the CW list and the yellow board?

good2u: What is the CW list?

NOTE: The CW list is an email list for Children's Writers.

Verla: This website, Writers' Tips page, has all the information on how to join the CW list and the CW Board (fondly known as the "yellow board" by those who post there)

Federici: Great, thanks Verla

Verla: that's the Children's Writer list and the Children's Writer Bulletin Board

SRW: here is the addy for eGroups for joining CW list

good2u: Thanks SRW

Federici: thanks SRW

SRW: And this one is for Mel's list, the Christian Children's Writer's Group

Amishka: How did you find your picture book <critique group> ?

Federici: I went to and joined the children's writing forum

Federici: I also queried several writers under the ms exchange program in the back of the SCBWI directory and received a couple of good critiques that way.

Lyra_: sounds like you know all the right things to do, Fed

new_^Rach: Can on line critique groups be trusted? How do you know?

NOTE: This question did not get answered here, but at least one of the critique group workshop transcripts on the Transcripts page of this website has the answer to this question in it.

Amishka: You need some kind of twist to make your story different

Verla: think about it for a minute....if you write a story that could be written by almost anyone...why would a publisher publish YOURS instead of a similar one by Jane Yolen or Judy Blume?

Ramoth: a story needs that interesting "twist" that makes it unique

MelLane: I loved the article in CWIM by S. E. Hinton -- she said, "I get into my character's head, and write THEIR story."

Amishka: of course you can do all of this and still get rejected but this helps and maybe your rejections won't all be form letters

Federici: As a full-time conference attendee, I did just send my ms in to SCBWI for the individual consult. What type of feedback should I expect?

Lyra_: Usually you'll get a very good critique, Fed -- by a professional

Verla: I had two of those, Federici...the first one was fantastic! I had an editor (a big one!) crit my manuscript. She loved my style of writing, but didn't think my story worked. So I rewrote it for her and it still didn't work for her. But she gave me great feedback. The second one I had critiqued at National wasn't quite as exciting. It was still good, but was not quite as thrilling as the first. But of course, what mere author could compete against that big editor I had the first time?

Federici: Thanks Verla. How do they pair you up?

Verla: That's just the "luck of the draw" on your end, Federici. I just got lucky the first time out. You never know who you will get.

Verla: I don't know how they pick the people for the different critiquers, Federici

Federici: OK, thanks. Do you normally not know anything about it until you have your consult?

Federici: Can you tell I'm nervous?!

MelLane: I would be, too, Fed.

Verla: You will most likely find out when you arrive, Federici.

t-wing: If we've written a novel, how much should we send for critique at a conference?

Lyra_: They'll tell you in the guidelines

Federici: I sent the whole thing (48K words) to SCBWI for the consult; it did not specify otherwise

Verla: Okay...what are all the things that you can think of that would make an editor say, "No thanks, this isn't quite right for us," to a writer?

MelLane: too many adjectives & adverbs.

Amishka: Sending it to the wrong editor

Amishka: too much telling in a novel

MelLane: Oh, yes

SRW: yeah, they say use stronger verbs, don't like lots of -ly words.

Verla: story isn't exciting enough....

Federici: I've heard misspelling <an editor's> name is a big one

Ramoth: I got one that said there was good writing, but it didn't seem to suit their magazine

good2u: Story not unique

MelLane: yes, -- good one mish, telling, not showing.

Amishka: not knowing who you're sending to

Verla: how you write the story is one...

Ramoth: suit your audience

Verla: and how you present the story is another (format)

new_^Rach: story subject

Verla: and WHO you send the story to is another

Amishka: Sending a ms with a box of Chocolates

Amishka: or dead flowers

Verla: BIG no no, ami!

Verla: Be professional

lorrier: you can send me your ms with a box of choc's mish ;)

SRW: If I were an editor, I'd want chocolate. <G>

Amishka: LOL Lorri

Verla: Show your writing talent at its best

SRW: Just not flavored with exlax. <g>

Verla: interesting, mel...

Verla: try to write a story that ONLY you can write

Verla: you don't want to be competing against Jane Yolen and Bruce Coville and Linda Joy Singleton!

Verla: Be aware that if you have something really different (like my cryptic rhyme was when I first sent it off..) it will most likely be rejected a lot before it finds that perfect home

MelLane: Verla, did you know that format is the #1 reason for rejection, according to the <book> FIRST FIVE PAGES?

good2u: Mel, what do you mean format?

MelLane: How you send it, good.

Ramoth: makes sense. One editor said that a bad story well-formatted will get looked at, but a badly-formatted good story will get rejected

MelLane: Anything that's different from the industry standards.

SRW: I think the SCWBI bulletin that just came out listed top ten reasons for rejection.

MelLane: #2 reason is adjectives/adverbs.

Amishka: Newbie often send picture books in dummy format with terrible pictures

new_^Rach: no self addressed /stamped envelope

MelLane: needs to be: 1" margins all the way around, 10-12 pitch readable font, clean #20 bond paper.

*** Adrianne has joined channel #kidlit

Amishka: Adrianne!

Verla: SHE IS HERE!!!!!

MelLane: Hey, Adrianne!

Adrianne: did I get the time wrong?? :-(

Verla: Our illustrious leader has finally arrived!

Amishka: Yup, good thing you came in early your time (g)

t-wing: oh, good I'm not the only one who was late :)

Verla: Yes, abbey..we have been running your workshop without you for 45 minutes now

NOTE: Adrianne is often known as Abbey in the chat room

Verla: But we will GLADLY turn the podium over to you now!

Adrianne: ah, I told you you didn't really need me! <g>

Verla: (phooey!) We did too!

MelLane: Yes, we do, Abbey.

Amishka: we were just guessing (g)

Amishka: Not really for those of you that believe me

Adrianne^: my deepest apologies then, for being so late!

SRW: We'll let you stay late to make up for it Adrianne. :-)

NOTE: :-) = a sideways happy face

Adrianne^: thanks, SRW! <g>

Adrianne^: so tell me what you've decided on so far!

good2u: We've got it all figured out.

Amishka: we've decided proper format

Amishka: no chocolates

good2u: Don't use too many adjectives and adverbs

lorrier: awwww

new_^Rach: proper publisher

Amishka: professional writing

good2u: Show don't tell

Federici: great cover letter

good2u: No singing bouquets

new_^Rach: no book dummy

Adrianne^: I can see you've worked out the bribery issues! <g>

Amishka: we didn't mention queries

good2u: Be unique

good2u: The story, I mean


Amishka: No dummy unless you are a professional illustrator

NOTE: A "dummy" is a mock picture book. Pages are folded like a picture book would be and there are illustrations on the pages or places showing where all of the illustrations would go. Dummy's are normally only sent to publishers by professional illustrators.

lorrier: actually srw, there was a typo in that article too I recall

lorrier: made me laugh

Amishka: LOL

good2u: LOL

Adrianne^: SRW, yes editing of the ms will be a very big factor but not the only factor in rejection

Amishka: some more please? Adrianne?

Verla: Well, we are panting and chomping at the bit to hear your take on all this, Adrianne. Please, as an editor, share YOUR side of this with us.

Adrianne^: Sure thing, Verla <g> - I'll share both as an editor *and* as a manuscript appraisor

MelLane: Yes, PLEASE, Abbey?????????

Adrianne^: someone mentioned the right publisher - that's really important - a publisher can't publish your work if it won't fit their marketing strategy - no matter *how* much they love it!

Adrianne^: unless they can see a way to start a *new* marketing line <g>

Verla: But that isn't very likely, is it, Adrianne?

Adrianne^: not very likely, Verla - too much money goes into marketing to be able to change for one book

new_^Rach: What are the most common reasons you reject

Verla: Good question, rach

Adrianne^: I think you've covered some already -

Adrianne^: poor presentation - the mark of an amateur

good2u: Please give an example of poor presentation.

Adrianne^: spelling and/or typographical errors

*Dani257 (* Thanks

Verla: (There's the one you emphasized, mel!)

good2u: ok!

Adrianne^: good, I recently received a ms which was single spaced (irregularly!), justified, and bound in a plastic folder!

Verla: Formatted improperly, too, right, Adrianne? Like, not double-spaced, not a full inch margin around the story, etc?

good2u: Oh no!

Verla: Yep. Just as I suspected.

Adrianne^: this girl was a raw beginner - but her story had *huge* potential

Verla: so....did she get rejected, Adrianne? (curious minds HAVE to know!)

SRW: Or should we ask, did you read it even?

good2u: Did you send a personal rejection?

Adrianne^: yes, Verla! but I gave her info and how to set out her ms and suggestions for improvement

Adrianne^: of the story, that is

Amishka: nice editor

Verla: You are a dream editor, Adrianne!

Amishka: she's one of those ones we hate to hate because they rejected us

Verla makes a note in her notebook to make sure she gets to work with Adrianne as HER editor some day!

Adrianne^: this one was actually for appraisal but even if I'd been looking at buying it, I would have been hooked after the first chapter!

good2u: So Adrianne, could she resubmit her ms sometime later?

Adrianne^: absolutely!

Adrianne^: once she'd resolved the presentation issues and worked with building the characters a little more - and dealing with some grammatical problems

Verla: But normally a writer would NOT resubmit the same story to the same editor who had rejected it unless the editor asked to see it again, right, Adrianne?

<Adrianne^> that's right, Verla - not unless requested

<good2u> What other reasons are authors rejected?

<Adrianne^> "we've just bought/commissioned one similar"

<Adrianne^> that has nothing to do with the value of your manuscript - simply bad timing

<new_^Rach> How do you know if it is just bad timing?

Adrianne^: you won't know because you don't know who else is submitting what - that's just the way of the publishing world. If one publisher rejects it, send it elsewhere

<Ramoth> How do you feel about flashbacks, Adrianne? Would a story that started with some action and then went back to a little time before that get rejected by you?

<lorrier> good question ram

<Adrianne^> Ram, I don't reject anything on a particular technical bias - flashbacks are fine as long as they are done well

Ramoth: thanks

PrincessSt: Adrianne, do publishers actually tell you when they get something that is poorly written?

Adrianne^: not usually, Princess

PrincessSt: Don't you think that would help us :)

Adrianne^: that's where ms appraisals or critiuqe groups come into play

good2u: Do publishing credits help an author?

PrincessSt: If we're bad tell us, so we don't think it was just because you had something else similar

Adrianne^: Princess, there's no time to respond to every ms that comes across the desk

PrincessSt: well I'd rather get one that says you suck, than think I don't suck when I do.

Adrianne^: but would you want to get a rejection that says Your story sucks never send us anything again -EVER?

Adrianne^: some publishers won't respond at all unless they're accepting your ms - opens up the door for communication which could become a problem

PrincessSt: True Adrianne, how about make it one of those little ticks on the form letters... you suck, quit sending us stuff :)

Adrianne^: LOL Princess

good2u: LOL princess

Ramoth: nobody wants to reject a potential. the author might get better later

Adrianne^: I'm afraid I could never do that to *anyone* - because often times it's just a case of learning the craft and persevering!

Adrianne^: some of the most gifted writers never get published because they give up - and some mediocre writers get published because they kept at it

SRW: Adrianne, it's nice to know you're SOOOOOO sensitive to authors!!!

Adrianne^: SRW, I'm a writer myself - how could I be anything else???

Federici: I read in an article just yesterday that less than 1% of all work submitted is actually published. Is that an accurate statistic?

Adrianne^: Fed, yes, I suspect that's very true

SRW: Fed, look at how many times something is submitted before it is either accepted, or the author gives up sending it out.

t-wing: If a publisher/editor has a loonngg checklist that includes grammar, etc., and the check is for "not right for our needs right now"--is this a hint that maybe I don't suck and should try again?

Adrianne^: t-wing, I know an editor who used one of those checklists, and she spent so much time filling in the checklist - and adding comments - and then dealing with unwelcome return correspondence - that she gave up on that system

Adrianne^: in this day of computers, it's *way* too easy to write your first draft, print it off and send it out without fixing the problems

new_^Rach: If you have no publishing credits, and the only thing you have in commun to children writing is being a stay at home mom, what do you say in a cover letter?

Adrianne^: make sure your query letter/cover letter/synopsis showcase your ability

good2u: Please give an example

Adrianne^: they should reflect the writing style of your manuscript

NOTE: In Australia, where Adrianne lives, organization is spelled with an S and not a Z

Adrianne^: Rach, look for all the positives you can find. Are you a member of a writer's organisation? a writers group? any voluntary stuff like newsletters etc? they add up to be serious about your vraft

Adrianne^: oops

Adrianne^: crfat

Adrianne^: ahhhhhhhhh

Adrianne^: craft

good2u: craft

t-wing: lol

good2u: got it

Adrianne^: my fingers are trying too hard <g>

new_^Rach: Thank you. I didn't think of that

Adrianne^: also, have you done any courses?

Adrianne^: show that you're working on being a professional

good2u: How can a cover letter do that for a fiction story?

Adrianne^: if your ms deals with serious contemporary issues, don't write a humorous cover letter

good2u: OK

MelLane: Ah. I get it.

good2u: What IS a humorous cover letter?

Adrianne^: if your story is humorous, let your cover letter reflect that

Verla: When I sent a cover letter with my first book, good...I started it out with a few lines of my cryptic the editor immediately understood the style of writing that I had in my story.

Adrianne^: good, your 'voice' should come through just as strongly in your cover letter as it does in your ms

Verla: Right. If it's romantic, the letter should have a romantic "feel" to it. If it's western, it should reflect a cowboy theme, etc

SRW: Should you give a blurb of your story in the cover letter, or just send a synopsis?

a ms

good2u: I think of covers as nonfiction...blah blah... here's my pitch...credits...blah blah

NOTE: In Australia, characterization is also spelled with an S and not a Z

Dani257: I hate cover letters. Mine are all boring

good2u: Me too Dani

good2u: Not funny or anything. Blah blah blah

new_^Rach: I think mine are great

auntgeorge: I have just had my first PB accepted for publication. The editor said the project will take a long time. So I have taken the attitude that I will let him contact me. Someone asked, why don't you call him and talk to him about it. I responded, I'm trying to be professional. Is this the correct attitude? Don't bug your editor?

Verla: I only bug my editor if I have a good reason to, ag. (And CONGRATULATIONS on your first book!!!!!!)


Adrianne^: George, you still have a right to know where the process is at - you need to be informed and your editor should do that. If you're concerned, a quick - polite <g> - call or email is not out of line - just don't ring every week! <g>

auntgeorge: thanks!

good2u: Great going Auntgeorge!

Dani257: Congrats!

auntgeorge: thank you adrianne and everyone

Adrianne^: :-)

new_^Rach: How many rejection letters did you go through? AuntGeorge?

auntgeorge: On this one, .....none

auntgeorge: But I did 22 revisions

new_^Rach: Yah! So I have hope

Verla: those 22 revisions are probably why you didn't get rejections on it, ag

SRW: Wow, great going! What publisher picked it up? And did you withdrawl the ms. from any other publishers who might have been considering it?

Adrianne^: other reasons I reject mss - poor characterisation

Adrianne^: other reasons - lack of sustainable conflict, serious grammaticla errors, telling not showing (big problem I see!), unbelievable plots all play a part in turning down

good2u: Adrianne, please expand on lack of sustainable conflict.

auntgeorge: what about too realistic plots in a young age group?

Adrianne^: good, sometimes the conflict is good for a scene but it isn't strong enough to carry a whole novel

Adrianne^: what do you see as a 'big' conflict?

new_^Rach: Kaboom!

Adrianne^ is throwing out the question for discussion!

Amishka: In what kind of book Adrianne - what genre

lorrier: a quest

SRW: Does conflict mean it has to be a problem solving novel?

Dani257: Um, divorce? Being given the choice of which parent to stay with?

Adrianne^: doesn't matter, Ami - conflict isn't restricted to genre

auntgeorge: great inner turmoil

Verla: a big conflict is one that has many layers of problems within it. One that can't be easily solved with one simple solution

Adrianne^: good one, Dani

Amishka: Fear

Adrianne^: fear of what Ami?

Amishka: depends on the genre

Amishka: stepfather?

auntgeorge: great inner turmoil loaded with guilt and fear. The worlds two most powerful motivators

Amishka: mother

Amishka: oneself

Adrianne^: so Ami, fear of stepfather - there's a reason behind it that would move the story along

Amishka: or just not belonging

Adrianne^: minor conflicts would be things like him refusing to let her go out with her friends to the movies

good2u: I have to go. Thanks all.

Amishka: sickness -

Verla: major conflict would be the stepfather not letting her do anything she wants?

Amishka: death?

Amishka: abuse

Verla: how about just plain unhappiness?

Adrianne^: Verla, I think the major conflict is more likely the relationship between the girl and stepfather - as seen through the minor conflicts whenever she wants to do something

Verla: ah...good point, adrianne.

Amishka: war - major conflict

Adrianne^: simply not being allowed to go out isn't enough to carry a novel, *I* don't think - what are the possible resolutions there? she goes or she doesn't

Adrianne^: but deal with the relationship and you've got a lot more to play with

Amishka: okay, I'm kind of getting morbid

new_^Rach: Will an editor reject because of not enough return postage?

Verla: Hey, that's a GOOD question, Rach!

Amishka: not usually Rach

Amishka: if they want it they'll call

Adrianne^: Rach, more likely they'll return and let *you* pay the extra! <g>

Adrianne^: but no, it's unlikely to get rejected because of that! If it's good they'll be keeping it anyway!

Amishka: I've had editors send back my SASE and paid the postage

NOTE: SASE = self addressed, stamped envelope

new_^Rach: what happens if I forgot to put my phone number in with the submission?

auntgeorge: Do most publishers usually call when they are accepting?

Adrianne^: George, it depends on the publishing house and where you and they are.

Amishka: Didn't you get a call AG?

auntgeorge: No, <I got a> personal letter.

Adrianne^: often it's a phone call but certainly not always

Amishka: I've had emails

Amishka: (not for books)

auntgeorge: Adrianne, The SCBWI has manuscript standards. Is this the preferred format for submission?

Adrianne^: again, it depends entirely on the publishing house - and not being in the States myself, I can't speak definitively on that

Adrianne^: but if you follow those guidelines, even if they differ slightly from an individual house, you can't go far wrong

new_^Rach: are you in Canada, Adrianne?

Adrianne^: No, Australia, Rach :-)

new_^Rach: oh!

Verla: Adrianne is here from's after noon on Wednesday where she is

Adrianne^ nods

Verla: Which is why we had the time confusion. Our Daylight Savings Time throws off a lot more than just "our" clocks!

auntgeorge: Or Back From the Future!

Adrianne^: I forgot you were on DLS Verla

Verla: Yes, I noticed, Adrianne. GRIN

Amishka: Yes, she's letting us know what the editors are going to want tomorrow

Adrianne^: you never know, Ami! <g>

Adrianne^: so are there any more questions for me?

t-wing: manuscript evaluation, how valuable do you think it is?

t-wing: Do you have a website re: your manuscript evaluation service?

Adrianne^: t-wing - yes but it's under major construction

new_^Rach: What does too much talking in a picture book do?

Verla: Usually "talk" is hard to illustrate, it's not a good idea to have much of it in a picture book. But again, it really depends on what the characters are saying.

Verla: We want to THANK you for coming SO far to join us tonight (today for you) Adrianne...

Adrianne^: t-wing, it really depends ...

Adrianne^: if you have a really good critique group, you probably won't need anything more than that

Adrianne^: if you *do* need an appraisal, check out the service carefully to see what is provided

Adrianne^: it should be value for money, for starters

Adrianne^: be sure of what *you* want from an appraisal and be sure of what the service is offering

auntgeorge: What credentials should you look for?

Adrianne^: George, things like - how long have they been around? can you talk to anyone who has used their service? is the person doing the appraisal published and/or an editor?

MelLane: WE have THOUSANDS of questions, Adrianne, but Verla makes us stop. (g)

Adrianne^: LOL, Mel

auntgeorge: Thanks Adrianne!

MelLane: Adrianne -- MARVELOUS workshop!

t-wing: thank you adrianne

MelLane: Wonderful!

Verla: thanks a million, Adrianne! (I'll be right back....)

Amishka: great job Adrianne

auntgeorge: Yes, thank you Adrianne. You sound like the dream editor we all hope will read our works!

Adrianne^: hey, I didn't really do anything! You did it all before I even arrived! <g>

MelLane: Abbey -- you're not running off, are you?

Adrianne^: no mel, I can stay a bit longer

new_^Rach: Is it time, do we have to leave?

MelLane: ok -- brb

NOTE: brb = Be Right Back or sometimes, BathRoom Break

MelLane: No, Rach. It's CHATTER time. (g)

Adrianne^: you can still ask questions if you want to

Verla: Thanks SO much for your time, Adrianne!

new_^Rach: Thank you Adrianne, your answers were great.


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