Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Being introduced to Ernst Kleidorf Was One of the Best Rejections I Could Have Gotten

Below is an excerpt from a rejection that my agent received for a recent submission, written by an editor from a major publisher. I'm posting it here without attribution since I wasn't given explicit permission to do so. The author probably wouldn't mind either way, but I decided to post it anonymously just to be on the safe side. You never know.

"I just read Jed Alexander’s LADYBUG AND GENTLEMAN BEETLE. It’s such a beautiful and touching story and the illustrations are stunning. They remind me of one of my favorite illustrators of all time Ernst Kreidolf (sic.) I’m not sure if you’re familiar with him. He was from Switzerland, and I happened upon a show of his in a museum when I was visiting Bern once and I just fell in love..."

I've been getting a number of what you might call "glowing rejections" for this book, but  this was by far the most positive. The principal criticism has been that the book is "too quiet." One editor compared it favorably to Winnie the Pooh and Frog and Toad Are Friends (both major influences) but the current market doesn't seem amenable to this kind of book. I'm still optimistic--these things have a tendency to cycle back around--but in the meantime I'm hoping that some publisher somewhere might be willing to take the risk, and that there is an audience out there still for quiet books.

I hadn't heard of Ernst Kleidolf (the name I assume she meant since he's the only illustrator I could find with a similar name--a forgivable mistake--I'm sure she was recalling the name from memory.) So I looked him up. 

 Once I discovered his work, I realized just what I high compliment it was. I've been told by my agent that my work has a surreal and dreamy quality, something she says that "some day I will be known for." I tend to trust her judgement, so I'll have to take her word for this. I have no objectivity whatsoever about this sort of thing. It's hard for me to even recognize that I have a style. But if my work has anything in common with Mr. Kleidolf, I certainly wouldn't complain.

Here are a few samples from his book,  Der Traumgarten which Google Translate tells me means, "The Dream Garden," a title that seems very appropriate.


  1. Such talent! Love your work, Jed!

  2. Thanks Morgan! All I can do is keep trying. Hopefully, eventually, something will stick to the wall!

  3. I agree with Morgan. Amazing art!

  4. I assume you guys mean Kleidorf's and not mine, which isn't represented here, but I'm glad you did Kleidorf as much as I do!