Responding to rejection

It took a little while for these rejection letters to sink in and then I realized that I really need to respond to the editor at Viking since we did have a rapport going via e-mail and I needed to keep the line of communication open. So here is my response to her.

From:   Cindy Ann Ganaden CiNdY MeDiA .com
Sent:   3/30/2005 12:08:30 PM
To:  xxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject:   Re: Re: RE: Book Proposal: Franklin Meriwether Knox

Hi XXXXX,

I wanted to send you a little note to say thank you for reviewing Franklin
Meriwether Knox. Though I was initially disappointed that Franklin was not
the right fit for Viking, I do understand your points and I really appreciate
you taking the time out to review my book proposal.

Currently I have a couple of other stories percolating and perhaps one of
these may be a better match. The first is about a little girl named Perdy
who set out to have a “Fabulously Perfect Perdy Day” that winds up to be
anything but perfect. The second idea is a concept book that revolves
around the question: Whose shoes are these shoes? Which explores the
use of shoes for specific functions (ex. flippers are for swimming, ice
skates are for skating). I would love to have the opportunity to send you a
copy of either or both these dummies for you to review when I have fully
developed them in a more finalized state.

I also wanted to mention that besides both writing and illustrating
picturebooks I am also interested in projects that are on a strictly
illustration basis as well (but I’m sure you probably guessed that). I would
love to have the opportunity to work with you in the future weather it be both
writing and illustrating or just illustrating.

Once again thank you for taking the time out to review my dummy book.

Thanks,

Cindy Ann

Feeling better -the train is back on the track

I actually feel much better today. I received my 2nd rejection letter from Viking yesterday when I got home. (I’ll have to scan these in and post them)

Yesterday was absolutely a terrible day, so I’m glad its over. I haven’t had a really bad one like that in quite a while.

I do want to do greeting cards, so I have a lot of sketching to do this week. I have been avoiding my studio so I need to head back up there tonight.

Words of wisdom fm my coach

From: xxxxxxxx
Sent: 3/21/2005 11:52:43 PM
To: cindyann@xxxxx.com
Subject: Creativity Coach

Dear Cindy Ann,

I just received your e-mail. What a week you have had!

I am so sorry to hear about Chronicle Books not accepting Franklin. I would love to see the rejection letter. There are so many factors involved in choosing a book to be published in a publishing house. Any number of reasons can be the cause of your book not being chosen. Take heart! You are now a professional children’s picture book illustrator/writer. You have the correspondence to prove it. The fact that you sent it in for consideration shows you are serious. It is extremely rare for an author to have his/her book chosen on the first try. I know this does not take the sting away, but you have made a beginning step by submitting your work. Don’t let this stop you.

Regarding Rembrandt’s Hat: How flattering to be contacted and asked to send sketches, out of the blue. You pose so many questions, except perhaps the most important one –”Do I want to reproduce characters I drew so long ago?” I think it is clear you can reproduce likenesses – you are, after all, an artist. In fact, were you to draw those characters, you would probably draw them better, having more art and life experience now then when you first drew them. The real question is whether or not you want to draw them.

Next, having a request to produce more sketches by the end of March, when you have been sick and your mind is on your picture book, is nerve-rattling to say the least. Collect yourself and decide what you want. Do you want to create moving cards? Would you like to have your illustrations grace the cover of greeting cards? If so, here is an opportunity handed to you.

It is so hard to chase the “what ifs” from our minds. We have to, however, if we are to move. “What ifs” are faeries sent to distract us from our dreams. Shoo them away, clear your mind and focus in on one thing for now. Work. Choose whether to work on XXXX* or greeting cards or both. But point yourself north toward your studio desk, sit down, pick up your pencil and begin.

Answers to our questions often come to us or sort themselves out as we work. The act of creating our art gives us solace and hope. Create.

All the best,

xxxxxxx

*(There are many stories that have been told in picture book form and in chapter book form. If the picture book is the form you want to work with, make Perdy a picture book first. It can always be expanded later. Critique groups are great to get feedback, to see how others understand what we are trying to convey. The joy is that we can take what we want from them. Ultimately, you the author, have control of your story. You just have to make it fit a picture book format. One thing you might do is go to the library and check out recently published picture books that deal with relationship stories.)

Run Away Train

My apologies for being out of touch the past week I’ve been fighting a cold and the past 2 days I been fight my own self-doubt and losing terribly. I have woken up the past 2 morning crying for no apparent reason, but yes, there is a reason, I guess there always is. Maybe it has all come out because I had a cold and was under the weather, but it is now out in full effect. (which has also delayed me in writing you)

Let see what has happened:

1) I received a really nice letter from an Art Director at Rembrandt’s Hat a London based card company. They want more samples for a possible product line. This is a good thing right. But the images they liked are so old. Does it matter that they are so old? No. Should it matter? No. But, somehow it DOES matter to me. What if I can’t redo that character’s likeness? What if I can’t draw that way anymore? What if I do all of this work for nothing? What if they don’t like my new stuff? What about the 10 other “what if’s” that I am worried about but can think of right this second?

Here is the email correspondence:
______________________________

—– Original Message —–
From: xxxxxxx
Sent: 3/15/2005 2:45:03 AM
To: cindyann@xxxxx.com
Subject: Re: Time frame

Hi Cindy

By the way if you could send me any sketches by the end of March I would
appreciate it. As I am planning on holding the meeting at the beginning of
April.

Many thanks
xxxxxx

—– Original Message —–
From: xxxxxxxx
Sent: 3/15/2005 2:31:17 AM
To: cindyann@xxxxx.com
Subject: Re: Images

Hi Cindy

Thanks for your quick response and the offer to send me a selection of
sketches. I would also be interested to see ideas along the lines of the
moving card featuring the truck. I feel this look could also work as a range
of graphic cards.

Regarding the website I’m not sure why you couldn’t access it but please try
the following links -

www.rembran.demon.co.uk
www.rembrandts-hat.co.uk

Both these links seem to work on my PC so hopefully they will take you
straight to our website. If not, please let me know and I will arrange for
our latest catalogue to be sent to you instead.

Kind regards

xxxxxxx

—– Original Message —–
From: “Cindy Ann Ganaden CiNdY MeDiA .com
To: xxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2005 7:40 PM
Subject: Re: Images

Dear xxxxxx,

Thank you for your interest in my work. I would love to have the opportunity
to send you more samples as well as some sketches touching on the other
topics that you mentioned for the red head character. What is the time
frame that you would need these materials in order to be able to present
them at your next group meeting?

Unfortunately, I was unable to access your website. Do you think you can
resend me that link? I would definitely like to be able to look at your
different lines of cards.

I am excited about the possibility of working with you.

Thank for your time and attention. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best

Cindy Ann

—– Original Message —–
From: xxxxxxxx
Sent: 3/14/2005 7:12:19 AM
To: cindyann@xxxxx.com
Subject: Images

Dear Cindy

At present I am researching new ideas for the art card publisher,
Rembrandt’s Hat. I viewed your website earlier today and was struck by 2
images that I thought could be developed in to a range of greeting cards.

The first was Flowers for teacher from the Red head series of pictures. I
feel this style would work well and could be reworked to incorporate
images such as birthday gifts, cakes, champagne bottles, party scenes,
love hearts, champagne bottles, cats, golf (all sports) and so on. The
second image I really liked was the moving card featuring the truck. I
really liked the retro feel, simplicity of the design and brown
background. Once again I thought the style could be applied to a number of
the above ideas to create a selection of striking cards.

For your reference new ideas are selected by image sheets being presented
to a small group of people every few months. This meeting is an
opportunity for me to introduce new concepts to the rest of the company. I
would be very keen to include the 2 looks mentioned above in the next
meeting. Now there are 2 ways I can go about this…either I can just
print out the 2 images from your website for the meeting. Or you are
welcome to send me sketches to include in my presentation. To be honest
the more visual material I have the better as this enables everyone to
have a clear picture of what the cards / range will look like. However,
please note I am unable to purchase initial sketches / designs at this
stage.

If you are able to send me any visual material I would be very grateful
and of course will return all material after the meeting. I am happy to
view sketches, images on disc (jpegs. tiffs etc) or transparencies. If the
designs are selected to be published we pay xxx.00 GBP per image. This fee
is for 3 years worldwide greeting card only rights. Plus you will be sent
50 free card samples of each design.

We have a great deal of experience working with artists, galleries and art
organisations. If you would like to find out more about Rembrandt’s Hat
please feel free to contact me or visit our website
www.rembrandts-hat.co.uk.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

xxxx

xxxx xxxxxx
Art Director
Rembrandt’s Hat
Gloucestershire
England
______________________________

2) I received my first rejection letter for Franklin from Chronicle Books. This happened at the peak of my sickness while I was lying in bed and drowsy on NyQuil so it took a little while to sink in that I actually did get a rejection letter from them. Thought it was a very nice rejection letter and did go to the top it was a rejection letter nonetheless. I knew that it wasn’t going to get accepted everywhere but…Chronicle is where I felt I should of had an inside edge since I know the art director there and I actually had really wanted it to be them that accepted it. My ego is definitely a little bruised. (I’ll send you a copy of the letter tomorrow. I forgot to bring it into work today.)

3) My story review went OK in class last week. I guess if I really think about it, it did go well and I might just be being hard on myself. But I didn’t get all the answers I was looking for. What I mainly got was a bunch more questions to think about like should this story be a chapter book instead of a picturebook? – This in not something I even considered, since I am an illustrator and have always seen the illustrations and primary and the text secondary. So a ton more to think about and answer all by myself.

4) I had a mini breakdown over my day job. It’s spring and I am still here. I feel like I keep putting off the job hunt. Just do this first, just wait a little longer for this or that to happen before I decide to go. I feel like I’ve been doing the whole time I’ve been here. I really need to motivate and just find a new job. I don’t know if it’s really just fear of change that is keeping me here or what. I feel trapped but I feel like the only person trapping myself here is me. (And the money – I don’t know if I told you or not but they just recently gave me a 4.5% raise after in the past only receiving a1% or at most 1.25% increase. So I guess it a big deal, but just makes it that much harder to leave) I feel like I keep making excuses for reasons to stay and that in doing so I going to be stuck here forever.

5) Yesterday I helped my husband shoot some photo set ups and it felt really good to help him and work as a team. He keeps on telling me I should freelance art direct, but I’ve never done it before so who is going to hire me. I sure I could do it if someone would give me a chance. (That’s pretty much the theme with everything for me these days- I can write and illustrate a children’s book, just give me a chance. I can design. I can art direct, just give me a chance.)

We recently had some friends from Sweden come and stay with us with their 2 young girls. So because of their visit the topic of babies came up between Jay and I. We will be married 3 years this October and thought this topic has come up before it seem to be a subject that has been coming up with more and more frequency. I’d like to have a baby soon but how do you know when it’s the right time? Is there a 10-question quiz that will tell you if you are ready to have a baby or not? How do you know? If we decide to do this soon how will this effect me getting my illustration work off the ground and how will it affect Jay and his photography business. I want him to succeed at this. I really think he is a really good photographer and does really great work. Can we handle balancing all of this? People do it all the time, but will we be able to? Am I wanting too much too early and at the wrong time?

6) I’ve been questioning a lot of the decisions I have made in my life recently and if I have made the right ones? What is wrong with me? Why do I keep second-guessing myself? Sometime I feel like I am on the right track and other times I feel like I totally derailed and I’m on a run away train over a cliff. Today I definitely feel like I almost ready to go over a cliff.

in a little rut

I had a good weekend. I went up to Tahoe and did some snowboarding on Saturday. And Sunday I did some spring cleaning and touch up painting around the house. I didn’t get much creative stuff done other then reading a YA book titled Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by ANN BRASHARES . (which I considered as research- maybe that’s kind of cheating, but lets call it research anyway). I sent out a few more manuscripts and dummy books and still have a few more that still need to be sent out. They are hitting the mail stream in a trickle. I also met up with the Children’s Art Director at Chronicle Books and personally handed her my story, so at least I know that someone there will definitely look at it. Hopefully things will go well.

On a whim I have decided to apply for the SCBWI Don Freeman Grant. The grant is given to picture-book artists to further their understanding, training, and work in the picture-book genre. It is available to all artists, seriously intended to make picture books their chief contribution to the field of children’s literature. The “Prize” is $1,500. and one Runner-Up Grant of $500. Not a ton of money but every bit counts. And besides it would be pretty good to put on my resume.
________________________

2004 Grant Winners: Matt Phelan and runner up Jaime Zollars
2003 Grant Winners: Anik McGrory and runner up Sarah Brannen
2002 Grant Winners: David J. Udovic and runner up Daniel Santat
2001 Grant Winners: Theresa Smythe and runner up Lisa M. Kopelke
2000 Grant Winners: Yuyi Morales and runner up Amy Loeffler
1999 Grant Winners: Lisa Cinella and runner up Beth Royalty
1998 Grant Winners: Sheryl Daane Chestnut and runner up Emmie Hsu
________________________

Now as far as the current story I’ve been working on. Well to put it simply I’m in a RUT. I have the beginning written of 2 stories for my main character. But I don’t have ends for either of them. I am having trouble coming up with the ending. I have been thinking about this for the last 2 weeks and feel like I’ve hit a wall. On top of that I’m suppose to share this story next week with my Tue. Night class (and am suppose to send it via e-mail to my instructor by Friday. –that’s 2 days away!!). So you could say that I’m a little stress. Yes, I know that the class is suppose to help me brainstorm, but I feel like I need to show up with a little more then what I have. So I guess I’m going to be really busy tonight and tomorrow. Perhaps having motivation to get an ending by Friday could be a good thing. For some strange reason I always work better under deadlines.

Well I guess that’ it for now. I’ll let you know how it goes

Thought fm My Coach about Viking

Some very encouraging thought from my coach. I like that she is able to bring me back to reality and it’s nice that she actually get me.

Ok, Deeeeeeeeeeeep Breaaaaaaaaaath.
(sometimes I really do have to remember to breathe)

From: xxxxxxxxxx
Sent: 3/2/2005 1:15:34 PM
To: cindyann@xxxxxxx.com
Subject: Creativity Coach

Dear Cindy Ann,

What great news. It is wonderful that your doggie made such an impression on this editor.

Your reaction, swinging from dread to ecstasy, is probably very normal among artists when faced with the possibility of publication. Take deep breaths and wait. For you must wait until she receives the package with your sample book, has time to review it, discuss it with her colleagues and send a response. This could take time. I am unsure of the etiquette involved with picture books, but I believe it is similar to the one with novels. (Check this out with your friends at the GAG, the ones who have published. Find out what they think of multiple submissions and how long you should wait for a reply before contacting the editor who has your sample.) I believe six weeks is a normal amount of time requested by editors to review materials. Come down to earth and realize that she has only promised to look at the book. This is great, but not a commitment. However, it could lead to a contract. It is hard, but you must be patient and be prepared for either outcome.

Let’s say she loves it and wants to sign you up. Great. But what if it is not what Viking Children’s Books is interested in publishing at the moment? In either case, she may ask you for any other samples of work you have. In which case, what is your best course of action while waiting for her response? Work on your xxxxxx story and try to have a sample ready within six weeks. Is that a possibility for you? I don’t know how far along you are on that project. If six weeks is too soon, then have the premise of the book firmly thought out and be ready to give an estimate of how long it will take to have a sample ready.

If, for some reason, xxxxxx is unable to persuade her colleagues to publish Franklin Meriwether Knox, be ready to send it out to the next editor on your list.

I don’t think you can screw this up Cindy. You have done everything correct so far. You have completed the sample. You have sent out a friendly, professional letter introducing yourself and inquiring if the editor would like to see your sample. And you have sent the package (having double checked the address).

Relax. Enjoy the feeling of accomplishment. And work on xxxxxx.

Congratulations,

xxxxxxx

How am I going to screw this up?

This is awesome. This is great news. Right? But what I am really thinking now is how am I going to screw this up? I alway have a way of self-sabotage myself. I get nervous and fumble and totally screw things up. Now I feel like I am waiting for the moment to come. It’s strange, I don’t know how I always find a way to turn something really good into something awful. It is completely pitiful ’cause I know there would be other people that would die to be in my shoes right now, however they probably wouldn’t be think about how they were going to screw this up.

On the complete flip side I’ve been daydreaming about sending the rest of my dummy books and manuscripts out and getting multiple offers, and then having to send out retraction letters and getting calls from editors that are really disappointed I retracted my story ’cause they were just about to contact me about it and give me a contract. This is so completely over the top and will never happen. How can I have such negative thoughts one second and then this lofty daydream the next? I sometimes think there is something wrong with me. The way that I can swing from one extreme to the next. ———Well my family is a bunch of extremists, and I like to think that I’m more sensible and moderate then the rest of them, but look at me now. I’m just as bad as they are.

I need to come to some sort of middle ground with my thought about this or it’s just going to consume me and drive me crazy.

Corrospondence w/ an Editor fm Viking

This is very exciting. I’m sending Franklin off to an editor at Viking, an editor that remembered me, and has one of my illustrations posted on her bulletin board!!!!! This is a very good sign. Cross your fingers and wish me luck!

From: Cindy Ann Ganaden CiNdY MeDiA .com
Sent: 3/1/2005 4:29:39 PM
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: RE: Book Proposal: Franklin Meriwether Knox

Thanks Xxxxxx!

I’m flattered that you still have my doggie posted up on your bulletin board. I’ll send you the story and dummy book for Franklin tomorrow, so you should receive it by early next week. If for some reason you do not receive the package please let me know and I will be more then happy to resend another one.

Thanks Again,

-Cindy Ann

—– Original Message —–
From: xxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: 3/1/2005 4:05:08 PM
To: cindyann@xxxxx.com
Subject: RE: Book Proposal: Franklin Meriwether Knox

> Hi Cindy Ann,
>
> Your little doggie is up on my bulletin board, so I definitely remember our
> mtg!
> I’d be happy to take a look at the story and book dummy. My address is:
> Viking Children’s Books 345 Hudson Street New York, NY 10014
> I’ll keep an eye out for it!
>
> all best,
>
> xxxxxx
>
> —–Original Message—–
> From: Cindy Ann Ganaden CiNdY MeDiA .com
> Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 2:08 PM
> To: xxxxxxxx
> Subject: Book Proposal: Franklin Meriwether Knox
>
>
> Hi xxxxx,
>
> It has been a while since we last corresponded. I met you about a year ago
> in your office and showed you my illustration portfolio. I’m the woman that
> did the image of a doggie wearing a party hat.
>
> Well…I’ve just finished working on a story about that same exact doggie.
> He now has a name. It’s Franklin Meriwether Knox. In the story Franklin
> likes to play and gets into trouble for breaking a family heirloom. He
> decides that the best thing to do is to run away. He runs away on an
> imaginary adventure around the world, which consist of a one block radius
> around his house. Franklin visits France – which is really the local French
>
> Laundromat, Italy – an Italian bike shop, and Fiji, Egypt, and Morocco -
> which are all part of a miniature golf course. With every place that
> Franklin visits he gets a sinking feeling that “it’s just not the same, it’s
> nothing like home.”
>
> I would love to have to have the opportunity to submit this story to you for
> consideration. May I send you the dummy and manuscript for Franklin
> Meriwether Knox? Should you be interested in publishing this as a book, I
> would look forward to working with you and your editorial staff on any
> necessary revisions that may be required.
>
> Thank you for your time and attention. I look forward to hearing from you
> soon.
>
> Best,
>
> Cindy Ann