I’ve just dug out the 18 letters from publishers I received after sending out my children’s picture book,”Lost In Venice,” in 2003. Here are some of the comments I received:
Suzanne Carnell, Pan Macmillan, “Thank you very much for sending me the above story. Your pictures recreate Venice beautifully and the whole piece was a pleasant read. Unfortunately however, I do not think the manuscript is right for the Macmillan list. Although the pictures are very beautiful, they are very painterly and static for a children’s book. None of the characters are depicted in the artwork and it is essential for children to have characters to watch and identify with as the story unfolds. The story is nicely written but I didn’t feel that it had enough of a plot to draw the reader in. With some work it might work better as an educational book that introduces children to Venice rather than as a picture book. I am sorry the story wasn’t right for Macmillan and I wish you the best of luck in placing it with a more suitable publisher.
Mandy Suhr at Puffin, “Thank you very much for sending me your children’s picture book idea to look at. I enjoyed reading it and think your artwork style is very beautiful. However, the story is not quite strong enough and it is too educational in feel to work as a picture book text so I’m afraid this is not one for Puffin at the moment.”
Sarah Bertram at Chrysalis, “It’s a lovely idea but I’m afraid that Chrysalis Children’s Books doesn’t have a list which would suit this kind of book. After careful consideration we just feel the illustrations are too sophisticated for such young readers and that, whilst Venice is a fascinating subject, it’s perhaps something which has less appeal to young children than to adults. Without a young character in the illustrations there is little to engage such young children. I am sorry not to be of more help, and best of luck with placing your project elsewhere.”
Lizzie Ryley, Collins Children’s Books, “I am sorry to say that, although I found the concept interesting, I do not think that it would fit comfortably on our list. The atmospheric setting is beautifully set both textually and visually but some of the vocabulary used is rather complex for this age group. I am sorry to send you this disappointing news and wish you every success in finding a suitable publisher.”
Charlotte Sayers, Oxford University Press, “Thank you for sending us the above manuscript, which was read with interest. We regret to say that we would not be interested in this proposal as we feel it would not fit happily on our current list. I am sorry not to give you more encouraging news but hope you have success with another publisher.”
Alice Blacker, Orchard Books,”Thank you for sending us the above manuscript and apologies for taking so long to get back to you. However, after careful consideration we regret that we are unable to accept your work for publication. The children’s book market is growing increasingly competitive and very few titles are commercially successful. As a consequence of this we have to be extremely selective.”
Lucy Chambers at Frances Lincoln, “…I like your illustrations very much – they really evoke Venice beautifully, even in black & white, but feel that the writing style is not quite right for us……”
Egmont Books, “We have enjoyed reading it but sadly, we feel that it is not suitable for our list…..We wish you the best of luck in finding a suitable home for your work.”
H. Adams, Hodder Children’s Book, “Thank you for giving us the opportunity of considering your submission. However after careful consideration, we regret that we are unable to accept your work for publication. We wish you every success in placing your work eleswhere.”
Now that I have rewritten the book and introduced a little character I’m hoping to send it off again soon. Hopefully taking on board their feedback and improving the product to make it commercially viable!