Setting Goals, Relying on Yourself, and Handling Rejection

If there is one thing I know about all too well, it is the pain of rejection.

Any artist reading this is shaking their head up and down in empathetic agreement. The skin gets thicker and thicker with time (and it MUST if you will survive) as the galleries say, "No thanks" to the work shown them, as the on-line sales lie fallow, as the email notices come in with a kindly-worded "NO!" from juried art shows, residencies, teaching jobs applied to, as the silence of no response envelops and overtakes until you want to scream.

It is a dog-eat-dog world for us.

I have built up a VERY thick skin in my 39 years as a serious artist. You must, if you are going to slog through this process of exposing your art and creative endeavors to the world at large. Because, THERE ARE SO MANY TALENTED PEOPLE OUT THERE IT IS DAUNTING. You - and only you - can TRULY believe in yourself, pat yourself on the back, support yourself. Others always have some caveat they will run by you, ie "If you did ______, you would be successful, so-and-so did and is!" or "You have to be positive: build it and they will come." and so on and so on. The people I really admire and feel supported by are the ones that say to me, "Sometimes it sucks. Shit! you must feel crappy. What now?" That commiseration shows me they are sympathetic, and that they believe in me to recover and move on. 

But, I have never been in this particular venue before - children's book publishing- trying to get a labor of love published is a most daunting task. It has been 4 years now, this labor of love and hard work. However, I set realistic goals. One year ago I said that if my children's book didn't get picked up by a publisher in one year, I was going to publish it myself. I worked hard this past year, reaching out to myriads of publishers by snail mail, email and phone. I did my research, I gave them precisely what they asked for, I called authors of children's books for advice, I took every word of advice anyone and everyone in the business (or not) gave me, I availed myself of every opportunity put in my path, called anyone that anyone recommended and still....I have been rejected by all.

So, it is time. Now, I have to deal with the type. Publishers don't want your type done, they have people who make your book come together if they publish it. At first, I thought about hiring someone to create type for me. As I slogged through the people put in my path (most with questionable talent, skills that were NOT suitable for children's book publishing, the wrong people over-and-over!) I realized that - once again! - if I don't do it myself, it won't get done (properly). DUH! I needed to match the type to my illustrations! So, for the last month, I have been making type from clothesline, sand, seashells, golf tees, and more! Here is a sample...

Georgie Gecko was my LEAST favorite page from my book. Here he is first....followed by his type page. Now, Georgie is a much loved page! 

I am almost finished the type pages. They are making the book even better than I originally conceived. Perhaps this all happened for a reason, and I was meant all along to have to create the type myself in order to give the public a better, more creative, more personalized product? There IS negativity in this creative process, and it is hard to comprehend the additional time and money I will have to spend self-publishing, marketing, promoting, selling....but nothing has ever been easy, so I shouldn't be surprised. What I am is committed...I believe in this project and can't wait until it is finished and I can show you!