Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Welcome to Rob's World of Delusion!

Week of March 27: Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered
Wednesday, March 30: Welcome to Rob’s World of Delusion!

Have you ever had a thought like this:

“I know that publisher says they don’t want animal books, but they’ve never seen an animal book like mine. I’ll gonna send it.”


“Sure she says she doesn’t want rhyming books, but this isn’t you’re ordinary rhyming book. I’ve already stuck it in the mail.”

Oh, you have said similar things? Then welcome to Rob’s World of Delusion (aka: RWofD)! This amazing playground/amusement park allows me to live out . . . okay, dream out . . . my writing fantasies. In Rob’s World of Delusion you can hop on the Rollercoaster Express that will take your manuscript anywhere you want it to go and directly to the editor's desk! Then you can jump on the Writers Ferris Wheel and have the belly-dropping highs and lows of mailing off manuscripts and checking the mailbox/inbox daily with hearty anticipation. In Rob’s World of Delusion all the rides rotate around me (for that matter, so does the universe) and I magically, mystically, madly convince others that what they really want and need and feel is actually what I want them to want and need and feel!

Because so many writers visit Rob’s World of Delusion, publishing companies have started adding statements like the following to their entries in Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market®:

·        Study our catalog before submitting. (p. 166)
·        As a guide for future publications look in our latest publications, do not look to our older backlist. (p. 170)
·        Learn about publishing and book marketing in general. Be familiar with the kinds of books published by the publisher to whom you are submitting. (p. 204)
·        Read our books before approaching us. (p. 206)
·        Study our catalogs and get a sense of the kinds of books we publish, so that you know whether your project is likely to be right for us. (p. 208)

If you’re still visiting Rob’s World of Delusion it’s time to ask for a refund and come back to Writer Reality Land. Admittedly it’s not as much fun as RWofD, but Writer Reality Land will probably yield more results in the long run.

I told you earlier this week that I had found 30-ish publishers of picture books who accept non-agented submissions and the kinds of stories I write. Well, I’ve spent several days and evenings researching some of those publishers and my lists is now a bit shorter. It seems that when you actually do check publishing houses websites, book lists, etc. you discover what would not fit in the brief notes in the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market® or whatever source you are using.

For instance, I found a wonderful lead for a publisher who listed the topics they wanted in picture books. Among the list were folktales, animals, and cultures. I have a wonderful rewriting of a folktale that is set in Appalachia—a decidedly different culture in my mind. Well . . . when I visited the publisher's website I realized they meant new folktales from foreign lands and that almost all of their releases in the last year focused on Africa. My first thought was to draft a letter offering my advice and my manuscript:

Dear Publisher:

I know you love folktales—who doesn’t? And do I have a doosey for you. The best news is it’s not set in Africa. Haven’t you spent enough time there all ready? Isn’t it time to give your readers a break? How about a nice trip to the luscious backwoods of Appalachia? Now there’s a culture you’ve never had the insight to publish a book about. I’m happy to say I’m here to help.

Okay, I didn’t actually write that letter, but when I send a manuscript that is an ill-fit for a publisher, I am either saying I don’t know what I’m doing or I don’t think they know what they’re doing. Either way, the scenario is not going to work out any better than that fantasy letter.

As I’ve been delving in to learn more about the publishers where my manuscripts might fit, I’ve found a wealth of info. The best discovery has been to see that some of my favorite picture books come from some of these publishers and that some of my favorite authors have published with those houses. I’ve run across names of editors that I remember from conferences or that I’ve read about in other blogs. I’ve discovered topics that I never knew anyone would want and that I actually have ideas for.

I’m continuing my search from the best publishers for me. The current stage of the process will be completed this week and I’ll begin to send out a boat-load of inquiries—but my boats are going to be setting sail on voyages that have real possibilities instead of just sailing up The Denial River at Rob’s World of Delusion!

It’s Your Turn!
1. Are you ready to confront any of your delusions today? If not, just be happy you don’t have mine! LOL!
2. I encourage you to keep searching for those publishers who are the right-fits for your manuscripts.

1 comment:

Romelle Broas said...

I admit it. I've been a part of RWofD (Romelle's world...)! Thanks for brining me back to Writer Reality Land. I, too, am in the process of looking for the right publisher for my ms. And yes, it is hard work, but worth it. Thanks for the post, Rob!