I have now received my fourth rejection.
This one reads
Dear Helen Earl,
Thank you for giving ************** a chance to consider your work.
Unfortunately this is not right for us. We are replying as soon as possible to give you the best chance of finding the right agent. We specialise in commercial fiction and illustration tailor made for the mass market and therefore we have to be confident of substantial sales quantities before taking on a new project.
We receive over 300 submissions a week and can only take on a handful of new writers every year. The result is that we have to be incredibly selective, so please do not be too disheartened. Another agent may well feel differently.
We wish you the very best of luck in the future.
[I have removed identifying details as a courtesy to the agency concerned]
This one hit me a bit harder, but mainly I think because I was feeling a bit down anyway and had been criticized at work, meaning that I was more sensitive to it.
I’m still trying to see it as part of the process and stay positive.
I might have been more inclined to give up and believe I’ve been delusional if not for the encouraging feedback I’ve had from unbiased readers and listeners such as the children at the schools where I field tested the stories.
Working in a library I’ve come across some pretty rubbishy children’s picture books that have made it into print. I honestly believe my work stands up favourably against them. I have read popular titles that I would equate mine with any day of the week. I may not be the next Julia Donaldson, but then again – who is? I’m sure there IS a market for my characters and their adventures. I believe in them. I can honestly see not just a series of books, but a whole slew of merchandising items such as plashes, T-shirts, pajamas and other clothing (including onesies) backpacks, birthday cards, mugs, cereal bowls and lunch boxes etc.
All I need is for a literary agent (and thence a publisher) to believe in them – and in me – too.
Onward and upward.