Thursday, December 18, 2008

Summing Up 365 Writing Days

Since this in my last scheduled post of the year, I decided to put together an annual report on my writing life. So here goes . . .

TOTAL SUBMISSIONS FOR 2008: three picture books, eight magazine pieces (two stories, six poems), two manuscripts entered in contests: story in poetry, and short non-fiction.

What happened to these submissions?

Picture book A: one form rejection, three personal rejections, one request for revision. Revised manuscript. Goes to editorial team meeting. More revision suggestions. Revised manuscript. Goes to editorial team meeting again. Rejection. Submitted to three new publishers. Still out.

Picture book B: Goes to editorial team meeting. Rejection. Still revising.

Picture book C: July submission, still waiting to hear. Time to write a status query.

Magazine pieces: One story rejected. One story still out. Six poems: five rejected (with personal note). One accepted.

Contests: Story in poetry. Rejection. Short non-fiction, announcement of winners in 2009.

SUMMARY: 13 rejections. One acceptance. I've had better years!

INCOME: $250.00 for reprint rights to an older magazine story. $173.25 for sales of my copies of OP picture book.

THE GOOD NEWS: I had manuscripts reach editorial team meetings. I got a phone call from the editor who loved my first revision of picture book A. One poem has been accepted and scheduled for publication. One magazine piece, bought in Dec. 2006, is being held for publication. (Maybe this qualifies as bad news?)

THE BAD NEWS: I had manuscripts reach editorial team meetings. They were rejected. Can't help but get your hopes up, especially after two revisions.

OUTLOOK: Cloudy, with the assurance of more rejection, but this writing career will continue. Why? Writing is essential to me and I still have stories to tell. I also thrive on the friendships and the give and take of my two excellent critique groups.

Best writing wishes to all for 2009!


  1. Gale -
    I'm not sure if a summation like this is encouraging or discouraging! When I look at my own submissions for the last year I am discouraged. YA historical sent out 8 times and rejected 6, two still outstanding. Contemporary YA sent out twice, rejected twice. All submissions to agents. I think I need to get back to work on my WIP!

  2. Reviewing the remains of the year can be enlightening, if not encouraging. I had three PB out to editors this year. One reached the editorial board but no success and there were a number of personal rejection letters. But... I love all three manuscripts and know that there is an editor out there who will love these stories and children who will enjoy reading about mermaids, New York Island and beaches. Aspiring for a New Year of inspiration!

  3. Hi Meg, Pretty good to make it to editorial meetings in this bad climate. Have many PB contracts have you had? I've only had one and it was in 2003! I feel like it is getting harder and harder.

    I'd love to talk to you more. I live in Warren and my husband works in Morristown.

  4. Hi Corey,
    Yes, I think the market is getting harder and harder - especially for picture books. Mine was published in 2006 and it's already a goner.

    Is yours still in print?

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Great year end summary, Gale! It really gives an accurate picture of "the writer's life".

    What's interesting to me is that every single person who has commented on this thread so far (besides me) has at least one picture book published or accepted for publication. But no matter what level of success writers achieve, rejection is an inherent part of any writer's experience.

    When I did some research on sales and marketing, I read that you had to figure out how many cold calls you had to do to make a sale. Those cold calls where the salesperson got a "no" weren't wasted. They were just an accepted part of getting to that one "yes".

    While I know that improving my writing needs to be a goal for 2009, I also know that submitting more needs to be a goal as well. After all, your Picture Book A that made it all the way to two editorial team meetings, also got one form rejection. I can be too quick to give up on a manuscript after that form rejection.

  7. Oh, Gale. I'm sorry. I somehow thought this post was by Meg. My book came out in 06 too (contract was 03. They printed 10,000 copies so there are still plenty left. But they won't reprint. I think it is just a matter of time before it gets "remaindered " :(

  8. Corey,

    When you do get that dreaded remainder letter, order lots of copies! You never know how many you'll want and of course, your heirs will want them, too. :-)

  9. Gale: Any year that you have an acceptance is a good year, IMHO. And that $423.25 you earned is more than enough to treat the entire group to our annual holiday lunch. Champagne all around. Woo hoo!

  10. It looks like your first picture book shows a LOT of promise! Hope it pays off for you in the new year! I never thought to do a summation of my submissions. I'll wait for a year with more yes's! :0)

  11. After reading Gale's post, I decided to take a look at the submission record for my MG. It took about 30 seconds, because I use It lists my agent submissions as well dumps the stats into a colorful pie chart. Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for the permanent smiley face icon.

    I found that from July '07 to March '08 I submitted to 24 agents with 11 partial and four full requests.

    Three editors requested fulls resulting in two editorial meetings before rejecting, and one still has the manuscript.

    The good news is, reviewing this info made me pull the manuscript from the drawer and get back to work. Distance has made a difference. More on this to come.

  12. Thanks for sharing your stats and best of luck in 2009! I think it is going to be your year:)

  13. Jill,

    Thanks for the good wishes for 2009. At least I'll start the year with a tidbit in print. A poem is scheduled for the Jan. issue of Babybug.

    Congrats on your poem in the upcoming anthology!