The acceptance/rejection process at Living Waters has never been openly discussed. However, we've rejected a lot of manuscripts lately, and with good reason. It's time for authors to understand the process of writing and submiting.
One of the main reasons many are rejected is the manuscript does not match our publishing house. Please remember, we are a Christian publisher.
Lately, seems children's books are all the rave. We've received approximately 100 children's lit manuscripts this month alone. Nearly all of them were rejected. Why? In about half of those manuscripts, the characters were not believable. If your manuscript has a seven year old, make sure he/she is in keeping with his/her age range. Don't write a book from a pre-school perspective and use words that most children won't encounter until middle school (unless you're writing about a genius child).
Another reason for rejection is lack of descriptive language. You have to write vividly. You must be able to attract and keep the attention of a child. If an illustrator can't find any scenes to draw, you have failed at using descriptive language. Think lively verbs and colorful adjectives (leap over jump, dashed over ran; be descriptive in your use of adjectives also. Not just a field but one full of red, yellow, purple wildflowers, dandelions, something, anything that an illustrator can draw and children can imagine).
Another biggie with Living Waters is creativity. We want to hear the author's unique voice. It has to be different than the other couple of million writers out there. Your competition is fierce. Always remember that.
Besides all these things, there are also common errors that will rarely make it beyond the first reader at this publishing house. These are:
~ Manuscripts full of errors (with hundreds of thousands of authors who take the time to make sure their work is well-written, properly proofed, etc, we shouldn't have to nor will we deal with manuscripts full of mechanical errors. Be thorough in your writing and proofing. You don't just bang it out and send it off. Use critique groups. Use college students. Use whatever you have to use to make sure your manuscript is ready for an acquisitions editor)
~ Not following submission guidelines (the guidelines are in place for a reason and when the author does not take time to follow them, they put themselves in the slush pile, or worse, the rejected pile, immediately)
Always remember that publishing is a business. Writing, if you want to make money from it, is also a business. Learn about the industry. Learn about writing and submitting. Read, a lot. These simple things will put you way ahead of the crowd. It's not hard to find a publisher for those who are willing to dedicate their time to learning.