… and his head grew three sizes that day.

Posted: July 22, 2015 in Writing
Tags: , , ,

photo caricature of a desperate caucasian man in a polyester suit and retro shirt as he leans over and points

Rejections suck.

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll be aware that my daughter and I entered a novel pitch contest a few weeks back, and last week we moved up in a significant way — two of the participating editors requested a partial, so they were both considering our manuscript out of the 100+ they had received.  Adding to the anticipation, I learned that both of these editors had elected to work with two manuscripts for this contest, effectively quadrupling our chances to make it.

We didn’t make it.

But, as I tweeted to our fellow participants before the Big Reveal on Monday, we had already “won,” because we were going to receive editorial advice from two professional, experienced editors on our first three chapters. So I sat back and waited for the rejection e-mails. And then this appeared in my in-box:

Dear John,

I regret that I’ll be unable to continue to work with you on THE LAST PRINCESS for the rest of Pitch to Publication. But what I’d like to say is this: you have one. Amazing. Manuscript, on your hands. The reason I did not choose to work with you, John, is because I honestly don’t think you need much of an edit. Sure, some cutting here or there. But nothing big enough to warrant what I’ll be doing to the Pitch to Publication mss.

Wow. Okay, she didn’t choose us because our manuscript was too good? How cool is that? But there was more:

Of all of my 150 submissions, I can say unequivocally that yours was in the best shape of any I had the pleasure of reading. You are an INCREDIBLY gifted storyteller, and you’ve brought to life such a charming, three-dimensional main character who alternately made me laugh out loud, and broke my heart. Even your secondary and tertiary characters are vivid and well-imagined. In terms of storytelling, I found your elements of craft to be polished and refined to the point of WOW. You knew when to zoom in, when to pull back. Your pacing is pitch-perfect. You’ve got a heck of an inciting incident, and your character goals are brilliant and exciting. In fact, with your permission, I’d like to forward your mss along (in an unofficial capacity) to a couple of agent and editor friends of mine. What do you think? If the rest is as good as the first fifty pages, I would feel very optimistic about your chances.

Jaw. Drop.

I’ve spoken to her a number of times since this, and I learned that she used to be an editor for one of the Big Five publishers in the children’s division, and that one of the “editor friends” she mentioned had already asked for the full manuscript based on her recommendation.

Yeah, I said Okay. Obviously.

As if this wasn’t miraculous enough, my editor (can I say that?) said she would “love to champion this book for you.”

I write fantasy for children, with fairy tale elements and magic and so forth. I know from happy endings. But this? How do you thank someone for something like this? Maybe I need to write her into the sequel as a fair godmother or something.

  1. derricodenise says:

    This is such fabulous news! I am so excited for you both. Thank you for sharing your journey.


  2. This is amazing! A huge congratulations on all your hard work coming to fruition! Thank you for sharing your story. It is very encouraging to read others’ successes.


  3. bethaman80 says:

    WOOOOHOOOO!!! That’s so awesome!


  4. Wow, that’s such a great story! There’s hope! Best of luck to you. 😀



    I have been following along with all your comments and what is happening and am very excited for you and Missy. Love you both Mom


  6. Congratulations, John, I knew you could do it!


  7. Sandra Coopersmith says:

    I am ECSTATIC for you!!! You are on your way, my friend. That’s the type of letter creative people live for.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Virginia Herrick says:

    So cool! Now I want to read it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. […] manuscript evaluation and worked with us on revising it for the agent round, but sent us such an amazing and encouraging rejection letter that we were completely floored.  She ended up offering our manuscript to several people who each […]


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