10 Nov

I thought it would be easy, mais non

I suppose it’s a good sign that I’m having to turn down requests for personal appearances already: A local school asked me to be a “celebrity (hee!) reader” during Children’s Book Week, but I had to pass, given my commitment to the Cybils.

About that commitment: When I was asked to be involved in the Nonfiction Picture Book award, it never occurred to me that part of my job would be having to divine what’s nonfiction and what’s non-nonfiction. “Nonfiction” seemed pretty straightforward to me: It’s true stuff.

But then folktales and fairy tales and history-based slapstick and whatnot entered the picture. Libraries shelve some of them with fiction, and some with nonfiction. It can vary from library to library. Even some plainly true stories are showing up in the fiction sections, which just seems wrong, as does shelving items that don’t meet the “true stuff” sniff test in the nonfiction section. Anyway, we’re trying to do right by these authors and illustrators and give their books a fair shake in the right category. I just expected more fair-shaking and less category-righting.

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In other developments…

There’s more good news from Disco Mermaids. Congratulations, Robin!

Cynsations’ neat-o series of editor interviews continues with Yolanda LeRoy of my favorite publisher.

If This Jazz Man sounded good to you, check out Publishers Weekly‘s article about how the book came to be.

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And finally, Pasta didn’t stick with the editor I’d first discussed the project with back in January. I got a rejection letter yesterday — not for the topic, but for the voice I’d used in the sample chapters. She just flat-out did not like it — not one bit. I’m a little sad, on one hand, in that a project I’d been working on with this editor in mind failed to strike a chord with her, especially after she’d been so enthusiastic in the beginning and so patient along the way; I’m already thinking of other projects for her.

But I’m also oddly excited — I went outside my comfort zone in coming up with the voice for this proposal, and it may just be that producing something that’s not everyone’s cup of tea is simply part of going outside one’s comfort zone as a writer. I’m still very excited about the voice, and something about this rejection feels different from the many others I’ve gotten over the years.

Of course, this rejection could well turn out to be merely the first of many, by which point this feeling could be all too familiar.

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