Thursday, March 22, 2012


It was a long shot, but I did it anyway.

Last fall, I sent a couple of pitch letters to magazines hoping to get someone to publish the story of my son's battle against Langerhans cell histiocytosis.

Today, I received a very pleasant rejection letter from the editor of Texas Monthly, who said that despite the fact he can't publish me, I had written a very compelling proposal and he hoped I would continue to shop the story. He felt it would land somewhere.

Maybe that's a form response, or maybe I had piqued his interest somehow. Or maybe he just felt guilty that I have a son who was so sick for so long. But if you have to be rejected, you want it to be like that. Ol' Jake Silverstein did a nice job not only softening the blow but actually encouraging me.

All in all, though, acceptance is better.

I've spent part of the day planning and working on the quilting of the first Kona quilt (the one with the increasingly larger squares) and auditioning fabrics for the border of the quilt I posted the other day with the fussy-cut animal squares. My idea is to put them in my etsy shop. If they don't sell there, I'll donate them.

Not selling is, of course, a form of rejection. As I was pinning the Kona layers in preparation for machine quilting, I wondered if I should instead have the piece professionally longarm quilted in the hopes that would increase the likelihood of a sale. The problem with that is that I would have to charge more for it  -- it would add at least $50 and that's not counting the travel time from my studio to the quilter's, or the time I spend consulting with her. On the other hand, my machine quilting, even though it's just stitching-in-the-ditch, has some value, too. Pricing is tricky to begin with. Charge too little and people think the quality isn't there, yet it's easy to outprice the market. I have a couple of friends who have mentioned more than once that they don't think I ask enough for my work. Well, maybe that's true ... but asking and getting are two different things. Whether I charge $100 or $1000, if no one's buying, my profit is the same. Zip.

So I'm looking at the Kona quilt and I start thinking, What if all the great quilting in the world doesn't make a difference because no one will like the color or the design? Or what if in this economy a geometric Kona wallhanging is an indulgence no one will pay for? Then I turn my attention to the animal quilt. I think it's adorable, but what if I "ruin" it by putting on a border no one likes? I can just hear the esty visitor thinking, It would have been so cute if she hadn't used that fabric. I'm as paralyzed by the fear of rejection as my dog-phobic client standing frozen at the top of the stairs.

Readers: what do you think?

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