Agent Response, Rejection and more Humor please!
March was a whirlwind and I feel like I am just starting to come down from the high of PBParty. In the end, I received 15 agent requests and two publisher portfolio requests which for me was a huge boost of self-confidence. I have been working in a vacuum for a few years now, and wrestling with the perfection monster for the duration. I have had a few passes from those requests, but almost all of agents who passed complimented me on my illustration style. That's a pretty dramatic turn of events from a year ago. It also illustrated to me how quickly I can pull a picture book together. From start to finish, I wrote, revised and illustrated the dummy for SLEEPY OLE BO in 2 months. That includes the full-color illustrations I created for the dummy. Forgive me for patting myself on the back because I certainly couldn't have done it without my critique partners. They were pretty relentless in their edits and opinions which I really need at this stage of my writing career. But if nothing else comes from this experience, I feel pretty great about my productivity in the last few months.
Writers talk about how difficult it is to be Queryland and how much rejection happens in publishing, so I decided I needed to create some success bridges attached to this process. Every time I receive a pass, I am going to post a picture book that tickled a giggle. I think my drawings would really benefit coupled with more humor, so I want to read more humorous manuscripts to inspire.
I've posted two so far.
The first is This is Not a Picture Book! by Sergio Ruzzier. This was a random library check out for me. I loved the use of language and the conversational dialog between the two MCs.
This was a great little find and I hadn't read Sergio Ruzzier stories prior to this. So it was a great way to kick off my new series.
The second was Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great by Bob Shea. I was already a Bob Shea fan so it is not surprising that I respond to his style of storytelling. I just love the observational humor that comes from a casual jealousy at school. The character arc of goat resolves really nicely at the end, and I find i just gravitate to these kinds of stories that work on a few layers.
I'm hoping to kill two birds with one stone by this little exercise. 1) I need to read more humorous picture books and having an obligation/goal forces me make time for it. 2) It gives me something to focus my energy on when reading a pass from an agent. I normally don't have a lot of ego tied into rejection and I think that being in animation really helped train me for this process. This is not to say that an agent saying they don't connect to my story isn't going to sting, but getting constant notes and critiques on my shots taught me it has nothing do do with my skill or with me as a person. Subjective taste is just that; subjective. Eventually I'm going to cross paths with someone who gets me and appreciates what I do enough to partner with me.
In the meantime, I have to keep writing, keep drawing and keep growing as an artist and storyteller. This past week has been very UNPRODUCTIVE in comparison to the month of March, but that's because there is a new toddler in the house. I'm giving myself a bit of time to recoup and get to bond with this little guy: