Wednesday, August 7, 2013

SCBWI LA Reflections, Part 1- Coming Home to Reality

I just came back from an exciting SCBWI conference in LA in which I felt like I was on an all-time high. I got to meet fabulous people whom I've been friends with online, but have never met in person. Turns out they were more wonderful than I had imagined. I love them all! 

I got to listen to inspiring messages from authors, editors and agents, and party with them at the Black & White Ball on Saturday night.

I also got to meet with Andrea Pinkney, V.P. of Scholastics and New York Times bestselling and award-winning author, during my critique session. She praised me for my work and I left with the feeling of elation. I'll write more about my experience on another post. Back to my story...

When I got home, reality hit me like I was run over by a bulldozer. Waiting for me on my desk were not one, but TWO rejection letters. I've never had two rejection letters come in the mail at one time so it really felt like a message to me yelling, "Get down from your high horse, young lady!" Well, I didn't get off my horse. My horse kicked me off.

This rejection reminded me of a post I had written in 2009.  I am re-posting it here to console myself. Hopefully it will help you too.


"It’s not you, it’s me.” You may have heard these words one time too many. Your eyes well up as you process this unexpected news of a break-up and you wonder what went wrong in your relationship with your soon to be “ex.”

Hearing these words almost seems like a cop out; escaping the gut-wrenching explanation of what was lacking in the relationship. In the publishing industry, the relationship exists between publisher and author. And the break-up comes in the form of a rejection letter. But the “it’s not you, it’s me” excuse may not be a bad thing.

As an author, you put effort into making sure your story has been critiqued, edited, reviewed, and perfected. You follow the submission guidelines to a tee. You study the publishing house and its back issues or book list. But no matter how hard you try to do everything right to make the relationship work, you still receive a rejection letter.

According to the Children’s Writer’s June 4, 2009 eNews, published by The Institute of Children’s Literature, “rejection letters come to you because the project you just offered to sell isn’t what the editor wanted to buy.” Most of the time, editors are limited to a certain number of manuscripts that they can purchase or are looking for a specific genre. So, even if you’ve crafted a well-written story, followed the submission guidelines, and studied the market, you just may be out of luck. It’s all about whether or not your manuscript fits their need.

Don’t feel discouraged when you get a rejection letter. Even the best writers and the well-known authors get rejected. So, when you receive a rejection letter, find comfort in knowing that it could just be that “it’s them and not you.” Hold your head high and move on. Besides, there are other publishers in the sea.


  1. Romelle, you were pretty wonderful to meet in person, too! And you have every reason get back on that horse and ride, young lady! :-)


    1. I am so happy I got to meet you in person, Leslie!

  2. Sounds like a great conference! Sorry about the rejections. Think of it like you're getting two letters out of the way so that you can receive the acceptance sooner.

  3. I got my FIRST rejection letter the other day!!! I'm gonna frame it!!! It called ME and AUTHOR!!! Bye-bye Writer and Hel-OH Author! :D

    1. Love it! Yes, you should frame it. You are officially an author! That would make a lovely quote- "you are officially an author when you receive your first rejection letter."

  4. I'll admit I have serious SCBWI-LA envy, but I still love reading about the experience. It makes me want to save my pennies (for maybe two years from now). :)
    Sorry about the double rejection. But that just means you've been working that much harder to get your work out there. And I'm sure you opened many new doors at the conference. So all-in-all you have more opportunities this week than two weeks ago, right? Keep the faith!

  5. I've been wanting to try the piktograph thingy you did in one post, and now I have an idea. A visual display of "yes." When the right book + right publisher + right time all match up.
    I wish there were a way to bottle up the conference energy and save it, because I know I had post conference exhaustion and uncertainty for 4 weeks before I shook it off!



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