Rejection can find a writer in any place at any time in this modern world. Four hours away from home at the Hampton Inn in Hoover, Alabama, I checked my email about 10:30 PM when I returned to my room. A nice polite letter, sent three hours earlier, let me know that my manuscript had not been accepted. I put the letter at number eight in my rankings system. Ten is an acceptance.
The letter included a helpful hint just in case, “If you are seeking to hone your craft of writing for young children, we recommend the resources at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators – http://www.scbwi.org.”
Therein lay the irony. My late time of checking email was a direct result of my being downstairs at the dessert party for the WIK 15 conference of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators! The Southern Breeze area of the national organization holds this “Writing and Illustrating for Kids” conference annually. I had chatted with a couple of editors, gotten advice from a couple of science writers, and compared notes with old and new writer friends. I’m quite sure this is the first time, and probably will be the last, that I have laughed at a rejection letter.
I not only found the sender’s comment funny, but exactly right. The rest of my SCBWI weekend was filled with information about what’s happening in the world of children’s books, ways to improve writing and enhance chances of acceptance, a personal critique pf a work-in-progress that will facilitate a rewrite, and a whole bunch of hanging out and comparing notes with my fellow scribblers.
So if you have a hankering to write for children, check out the website and look into becoming a member.