January 6-7, 2010:

I wrote about the two rejections I just received on FaceBook which occasioned much tearing of hair, renting of clothes, as my fans and “friends” remarked about how awful it was that a Personage Of My Account should still get rejected. And what underlay the over-reaction (a thought that only a few actual spoke outloud) was the destruction of a myth. The myth that says that once one gets reasonably well-known in the field, all is smooth sailing ever after. Which meant, of course, that they simultaneously saw themselves as having even less power now since I (the reasonably well-known one) was being rejected.

And I was quick to remind them that rejection is actually an opportunity to find the right editor and the right publishing company. After all, you doesn’t want to be taken on by a grouchy editor just because she has to take you on. Besides, I have so many manuscripts out making the rounds (just because editors are over-burdened, just because the process is creakingly and achingly slow, doesn’t mean I have to sit on my hands!) that odds are some of the manuscripts are going to get turned down. OK–a lot of them will be. Turned down more than once. As I have reminded myself and my audience over and over, Owl Moon was turned down by five editors. Sleeping Ugly by 13. Madeleine L’Engle’s Newbery-award novel A Wrinkle in Time was rejected by 29 editors. Dr. Seuss’ first by well over 30. Etc., etc., bloody well etc. My husband used to say that “It is easier to sell an ordinary book than an extraordinary one” and there is a great deal of truth in that.

So on to Book News: A book of adult poems was turned down with such a lovely letter it was astonishing the editor didn’t take it! A picture book first suggested by an editor was turned down because her boss didn’t think it salable. My agent and I are sending both on of course. They will find the right places eventually. I hope I am still around and with full faculties to see them completed!

I worked on two new retold folk stories for Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts, a bit more on Girl’s Bible.

Had an hour-long talk with the fabulous Tanya McKinnon, editor extraordinaire of Foiled on what needs to be redone on Curses Foiled Again. The magic word was “earned” as in “Do the characters really earn the magic, the good, the rewards that happen to them?” We discussed a bunch of stuff. Especially stuff to do in the first two sections of the book, and after I hung up I spent the next four hours working on the mss. Got some idea of how to get where I need to go but of course I am still a long way from that. Will let the sections sit for a day or two and come back to them fresh.

Other Stuff: Bills, physical therapy (back has been good for a couple of days, which is always a plus,) water therapy.

Held long discussions with Dan the Handyman about redoing the downstairs bathrooms. (Please everyone, send barrels of money!) Heidi took notes, Dan did measurements, I sent for two tile murals I have had my eyes on for some time.

Answered mail, email, made overdue phone calls, signed up for a swine flu shot for Saturday with Heidi, made sure the various calendars were in synch for the next two months. Did a small grocery shopping. All the minutia of life that is boring to do and even more boring to tell.

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