Choosing your book cover

Jasper amazon parrot

My publisher sent me illustrations for me to ponder over for volume two of my children’s series. This is normally a fun part of the job. Normally. Making sure I have a product I can be happy with I asked people in the business and those who had purchased volume one on what they thought.

I should have braced myself. I knew it was coming. It did. The only thing they seem to agree on as a whole was the cover. Everything else was a free for all as I received comments in my email box. It took me five people before someone agreed with what I thought on the pictures. I never tell people what my opinions are for I don’t want to influence them either way.

So now I need to sort out what everyone said, what I think and to put it into some kind of order before I present to the publisher what I like, don’t like, what needs to be fixed and what we will be keeping. It is still fun for I get to see the book progress to the next level as the company works on final edits. We are getting so close to the end it is getting very exciting.

Book covers. It took me just as long to go over the cover for the first volume which is shown above. Who knew it be so time-consuming to pick one that works for us?

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The Rewrite

Recently I blogged about my awesome rejection letter. In the email the publisher pointed out why they were not going with my MS. He listed the reasons. When I asked if I could resubmit once revising he said yes he would check the book out again.

My initial reaction was days of glee and happiness. Okay it is still with me. But the days after I found out there is a cloud higher than nine and I was on it. After that came oh my gosh how the hell am I going to fix this the way it’s suppose to be? With that dread inside I contacted a few people for thoughts and suggestions on what to do. Once they responded I was ready to start.

Only problem is it took a few weeks before I had the guts to sit down and actually attempt this very important rewrite. The emotions that flooded me ranged from despair to frustration. I stopped dead.

Instead of getting started I stalled.

As the days flew by people asked me how much had I gotten done and sadly would have to reply that nothing had been accomplished. I mentally berated myself up for taking so long to get going on this. I repeatedly went back over the points that I had to fix, each time it screamed at me, “ You can’t do this, give up.”

Now that I have actually started, I believe this was all part of the plan. I needed to step away for a few weeks to gather my thoughts, get myself in check and when the time came it would happen. And it did.

This past week I redid the ending to the book. I went further and did a total rewrite of my first chapter. The only thing that remained the same was three paragraphs. I was on a roll. In that rewrite a new chapter emerged that I had not planned on. I kept going. Last night I wrote another chapter that brings conflict and internal tension to my main character. Something that was missing from my book. What I have left is two chapters to go. That means rereading it and making sure the holes have been filled.

The last week all that has been in my mind all that I could concentrate on was sitting down and revising this book. It has blossomed not just in word count but in strength. When I am finish it will go through the process like before. My editor Nancy will go over it and tighten it up. Will it be enough I am not sure. Every publisher has in mind what they are looking for and what works for their company.

Personally I am loving the changes. If when all is said and done this publishing house does not accept it, at least I know I have a better book now, then I did a few weeks ago. For that I thank the publisher for making me gut out my story, for making me toss things that did not work, for eliminating words regardless of word count, and for evaluating my story in a way that all writers should.

Thank you Mike.

My Awesome Rejection Letter

What an awesome rejection letter, I thought as the email was read. Words I never thought I would utter in the same sentence: awesome rejection letter.

In February of this year I attended a free writers conference. There I came across a publisher from NC. Soon after I got home I submitted a query letter to him. Within two weeks he requested the first three chapters. Doing so he asked for the entire MS. I was told it would take 4-6 weeks. It took longer. My poor friend Lisa saw how the waiting was making me nuts. I finally sent him a nudge letter after conferring with some people if it was okay to do so. He recently wrote me back.

He wrote thanking me for submitting the MS to his staff. He continued by saying that declining to continue with this MS was a very difficult call for him.

Mike then said there were a number of excellent quality about the text that the staff found appealing. My characters were clearly drawn out and the action was very vivid. He said a few other nice things.  But he stated why they were turning me down at this point. He listed them.

After all was said and done the last paragraph I felt was really cool. He said if we have not completely offended you they hoped I would consider their publishing house in the future with other manuscripts I might have. Our judgment is that you have real potential as a children’s author.

Pretty freaken cool right?

I wrote him the email below.

First of all thank you for taking the time to read my MS. Instead of getting a regular rejection letter you gave me a well thought out letter. That means a lot to me. I am let down, yes, but am not offended. What I am is grateful for you gave me the points on where I can improve my MS. That is invaluable and again I thank you. I will go back to the drawing board and work on the points you laid out below and strengthen my story. Once I accomplish that will submit to publishers in hopes someone will take a chance on it.

It is nice to be encouraged to submit other projects to you. Can I be so bold and ask if it be possible for me to resubmit this MS once I work on it some more?

Thank you for the compliment at the end and the time and consideration you gave me.

He wrote they would be very glad to review Jasper again once I work on the suggestions.  Again pretty freaken cool right?

Out of the three points, two I feel I can incorporate into my story. The last one I am not to sure have to think on it.

This has been a process.

1-First the book was written

2-It was submitted to my writers groups, book reviewers, a day care and my editor

3-Worked on my synopsis and query letter

4-Started to submit to various publishers in Feb. of this year.

5- I have received a variety of letters. Some have been form letter while others were not accepting submissions at this time. Some were overwhelmed with manuscripts.

6-The next step was a publisher saying I had potential. It came from a major publishing house.

7-This rejection letter was next saying I had potential and points on how to fix my MS

8-The step I am at now, working on the points.

All projects are being pushed to the side as I work on this.

Even if it goes no further with this publisher I am still stoked.

Can you tell?