In April of 2010, I sent out a postcard with this image on it:
In September of 2012 (five postcards later), I was delighted to receive an email from a publisher on my mailing list:
“Is there a story you’re working on, by chance, with Mel and his diner? We loved the art piece…”
There wasn’t a story yet, of course, so I started writing one (trying to keep all the things in mind that everyone tells you to as far as having consistent characters, proper pacing, great page turns, etc…). It took me a really long time to get it ready to send out. In April of 2013, I finally submitted it to the publisher who had contacted me. I hoped that she would love Mel, Flip, Darla, Ralph, and Stella as much as I did.
One month later, my dummy returned to me in the mail from the publisher with a very nice letter that included the following sad part:
“Unfortunately, after careful consideration, we do not feel that we could be successful with your work.”
I was crushed. Absolutely crushed. Still sad about it to this day, the truth be told. But I loved my characters so I made a new postcard for them that I was really proud of.
In the end, my dummy wasn’t ready for publication, but it helped me connect with a fabulous agent, and for that I will be forever grateful. I signed on with Teresa Kietlinski of Prospect Agency in August of 2013 and have since illustrated a picture book called Chicken Lily that will be published by Henry Holt in March of 2016. I am also happy to report that I currently have some board book dummies out on submission that have been getting some very nice rejections and a couple nice nibbles, so I am typing this right now with my fingers crossed.
Keep drawing, keep writing, every cloud has a silver lining