Monday, February 25, 2008

That dreaded “R” letter.

Haven’t we all had our share of rejection letters? Sometimes I wonder if they use the same template, and just pass it around from publisher to publisher to use. “Hey! Look at this one! It’s pretty cool, so I’m going to use it. Look it over and tell me what you think.”

Anyway, I only have One Deep Sigh when it comes to receiving one. Just One Irksome Moment. Just One Teensy Bit of Outrage which prompts me to say this.

Editors, if you’re going to reject my story, reject it on its contents and merit, please. Don’t send it back to me unread.

Case in point:

Last year, not just one, but two publishers I’ve been keeping an eye on put out calls for submissions for a particular line of books they intended to distribute. One publisher had out two calls. I submitted stories to all three. And all three stories were rejected after several months had gone by.

Why were they rejected? Heck if I know. The forms all basically said they were “not what we’re currently looking for”. Since then I’ve been seeing the new books come out, and, guess what? They were all by in-house authors.

Yeah, I know being an in-house author has its perks. I’ve perked a few times, myself. But my irritation at receiving that R letter was compounded by the fact that, once their requirement was filled, they never took the time to read anything else. I can accept a rejection if you've looked over the synopsis, guys, and maybe read the first couple of chapters, and decided it wasn't for you. But, to paraphrase an old movie cliche, "Give the kid a chance!"

Publishers, if you’re going with a new line, go with your in-house FIRST, and then if you still have slots to fill, do an All Call. Not only have you wasted both our time and effort, but you’ve probably angered a whole lot of people needlessly.

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