As I was saying, a lovely publisher accepted one of my stories, collected my ABN etc and then emailed to say she was in the middle of drawing up my contract but had forgotten to ask for my postal address. For 6 weeks I knew the contract would arrive in my letterbox 'any day now'.
When my lovely publisher, who is great with emails, phoned me - on the telephone ... I could guess what she was going to say. Something about difficult market conditions ... still believe in the quality of my manuscript ... but due to the difficult market conditions ... I felt too dizzy to speak, but I had a vague awareness that I needed to say something so she would know I was still there. I said, 'I don't know what to say.'
I arrived at the SCBWI conference feeling like a teenager who had just been dumped - hating my ex's guts, but still wanting to get back with him. The Picture This guys were sympathetic and they could hardly believe that something like this could happen. One of the first people I met was Katrina Germein, who had known about my story being accepted. She told me that something similar had happened to most people in the room. If that was true then maybe I wasn't such a fraud.
On Saturday author Claire Saxby spoke about the first book she had accepted. It was illustrated, had the ISBN and she even had a rough copy to show us. But before it went to print, the publisher went broke. Years later she saw the editor and told him she was devastated by this. His response was, 'Devastated? I don't think so. I lost my job, my house and my family.' (gulp)
Claire's second book to be accepted was published, but even then it took 5 or 6 years.
Sue Whiting also spoke about her experience. Her first book also had illustrations completed, and then the editor died. She tried taking it to other publishers but they all said it was 'too finished'. Hearing this made me feel like a normal writer.
On the Sunday, Laura Harris from Penguin, spoke about book sales. The reality is that book sales overall have been down 20-25% in the last 2 months. So, my wise publisher was probably right in changing the decision made 2 months ago. It's disappointing to be unaccepted, but it would also be disappointing to have a book which didn't sell.
Without SCBWI, I would still think I was the first person this has ever happened to.