Rejection + Comments = Love

Like a lot of things in my frantic world, this is long overdue.

I got a rejection card from Houghton Mifflin, oh…a month or so ago, but I just didn’t have the heart to talk about it. And it’s not because I had all my last hopes for THE SHORT BUS JOURNAL riding on their thumbs up or thumbs down. It was more like…the official end of the line for my little book that could(n’t).


But here’s the cool thing: The rejection was a decent one. I know it’s poor form to post stuff about your rejections, but dang it, I thought this one was pretty friggin’ sweet as far as big company publishing rejections go. See for yourself.

If you click it, it’ll get all big like.

Here’s the low-down :

  • First of all, they plugged the name of my book at the very top of the card. Nice!
  • Second, the went so far as to call me Dear Mr. Troupe. (For a minute I thought the card was for my dad, then I remembered he doesn’t live at my house, so I knew it was for me. Also, he doesn’t write books about kids who have no disabilities but are forced to ride the short bus with kids who do. Wait a second…he doesn’t write any books.)
  • Third, they underlined ‘Thank you’ on the first line. I thought it was a decent touch. Hey, I’m easy like Sunday morning.
  • Fourth, they underlined the word ‘sorry.’ You know what? I believe them.
  • Fifth, they mention that because they get so many manuscripts, they can’t offer individual comment on people’s work. That’s understandable. Remember this when we get toward the bottom here, okay? Thank you.
  • Sixth, they underlined ‘every success’ as in they wish I had some when it comes to finding a home for my book. Also, they added an ‘!’ at the end of the sentence where they hope my material can find a good home!
  • Seventh…they left an individual comment!

Here’s what it said for the two people who managed to read this far along:

Not quite right for Houghton at this time, but you give Mitch a great, authentic voice. Best of luck with his story!

(I should mention they underlined the word ‘best’ up there.)

So, considering this is probably the last rejection I’ll get for THE SHORT BUS JOURNAL, I sort of feel good about it. I’m being honest and not being snarky or crappy about the whole thing. It made me feel that I’m sorta CLOSE, you know? Maybe that’s being waaaay too much of an optimist, but in an industry that doles out rejection after rejection and has a tendency to crush your spirit, this ‘rejection’ didn’t.

This one made me believe.