Monday, January 19, 2015

The Day the Worm Turned

This may be a repeat – not sure. It was originally submitted to Bylines Calendars and I didn’t hear back from then. Unlike the incident I’m about to relate. But I think I didn’t want to hear back from this children’s book publisher quite like I did. Any sympathizers out there?

I decided I wanted to be a writer when I was seventeen. I didn’t get around to doing anything about it until I was several decades beyond that. By that time I was pretty sure children’s stories were my thing so I began there. I liked children, had a way with words and of course it was a ridiculously simple thing to write for children. I had some success selling poems and articles, but my picture book manuscripts kept coming back to me. Huh! What could those publishers want that I wasn’t providing? For crying out loud some kids books only had fifty or sixty words. Undaunted, I kept writing and hoping.

I think the worm began to turn the day I got one particular piece back. As far as submissions go I’d done everything right. My contact information was right up there in the corner and each subsequent page identified with a number and my name. I’d included my SASE (self addressed stamped envelope). Oh – and I thought it was a darned good story, too.

So after the typically long writer’s wait I tripped along to the mailbox one day and there was my SASE back from the publisher. But something was odd. It had been sealed with wide tan colored tape and in addition – I swear this happened – it looked as though someone had run over it with their car. There were black tire track looking marks running straight across the back of the envelope. Geez.

I’ve been writing pretty much for adults ever since.

I will still write for children when inspiration hits me upside the head demanding it. I have one children’s Christmas story, Mary’s Sparrow, that I’d still like to sell. If you know any publishers looking for one, let me know.

PS: Since I wrote this I’ve sent Mary’s Sparrow out again – to Albert Whitman. Here’s  hoping!

Image: Free Digital Photos


  1. I, for one, sure am hoping "Mary's Sparrow" is published. I already know how many I want to order for Christmas presents because I predict it will become a Christmas classic. Come on Albert! Don't let this one get by you or you'll be sorry.

    1. Cindy, my loyal cheerleader! I hope you're right! =0)

  2. Your book sounds delightful and your rejection return frightful. Let's hope that was a result of the post office and not the publisher. Good luck with your submission, Susan.

    1. Thanks, Linda. This writing gig is a tough one sometimes!