I've read over and over again that editors don't like to receive submissions in Priority Mail or Fed Ex packages. Do you think this is generally true? And why is that so?
Are you sure this is editors? Because most editors have other people to sign for the mail and open it for them (one of the small benefits of working at a big company).
Agents, I understand. Many of them work alone or with a very small staff, and may or may not feel the need to keep regular office hours. They do not appreciate it when you send them slush they have to sign for, and if the postal carrier doesn't find the agent's office open and takes your piece of mail back to the post office, you should realize that the agent is not going to go down to the post office to pick up your unsolicited package.
'If a book has a reliable hook'? Which types of hooks would you consider reliable?
A hook that isn't based on
- how much I love the writing or illustration.
- a passing fad.
- something people do experience but about which they do not typically go looking for books.
- something for which there are many, many, many books already—while I may feel it's being done differently in this case, there's no guarantee the market will feel the same way.
I received a handwritten note on a rejection letter from an editor which said, "There are many stories for children about being yourself. What can you do to this story to make it stand out?" Any thoughts? This is a picture book. Is this the hook you have been blogging about?
'Being yourself' was a hook in the early morning of children's books, but at this point there are so many books on this topic that it's just a theme, not a hook. If you can do any theme in a way that speaks to the way people think of it right now, you can alchemize it back into a hook. Before you can figure out this new way, though, I imagine you'd have to look at the old ways and find yourself bored with them.