Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Submission frustrations

I was once told, (by an editor), that: ‘You have too much invested in your submissions if you can’t stand to wait a year or more for a reply’.

Damn!?!? Well, yeah, I DO invest a lot of myself in my work. If I didn’t, what would be the point of sitting here joining words together? (And deleting most of them again.) I pondered this industry attitude where submissions are reduced to brightly coloured shapes that must fit well-worn holes.

At the end of my think I still feel a year is an excessive length of time for a publisher to sit on a manuscript.

As I understand it, a single editor glances over each new submission. He or she may not quite love your story enough to publish it as is, nor will they necessarily feel they have an obligation to follow up with the author.

I welcome myself to harsh reality.

How is a writer to succeed? Pure chance must play a huge role when you are faced with a single person’s opinion or mindset. We toss our manuscripts at the publishing world’s cyclone and hope it lands on a desk whose editor just got laid, has had a coffee and feels OK with the world.

Many publishers I submitted to were clearly overloaded. Some indicated they wouldn’t be able to respond to submissions for weeks or months. But in their search for polished gold they continue taking on more ore.

How many dusty gems sit right now in their unread slush piles?

Few publishers have a definite acknowledgment structure for submissions. It’s left to the author to judge the amount of queries to make and when to pull their submission. But you will soon run out of reputable publishers by irritating them with your needs.

Yes it was quite a hard think I had. I’m still trying to wrap my head around all the points of view here.

Eventually, feeling my enthusiasm gradually wind down at the utter lack of communication, I self-published. The instant response from the public forum was incredibly gratifying. Honest opinion, praise and criticism abound on the net.

There’s no real point to this post. I’ve tried very hard to edit out the whining. (Took a while.) I know our selfish human natures play a role on both sides of this haphazardly erected fence. I made my own gate. Some are content to wait at the door.

All I’m really after is the briefest reply from those who control the market. ‘Yes, we like it’; ‘No, it’s crap’; ‘Needs work along the following lines...’. Give me some feedback so I can edit, delete or move to my next project.

No comments: