Someone on a writer board where I hang out recently heard back from the publisher he really wanted… after a year. And after that long wait, the answer was “revise and resubmit.”
Okay, R&R is a good thing, not a bad thing. But a year? I know publishing moves slowly. I know things take time. I know an editor’s focus must be on contracted books, not slush.
But a year?
That’s… disrespectful. If your own guidelines say four months (which is already completely insane), and you realize you’re going to miss that mark, maybe… close submissions? Hire interns? Do something that acknowledges the value of the writer’s time?
The usual choice is even more rude to the author in the long run, and that’s to not accept any but agented submissions. The writer must find someone who will take 15% (and I am old enough to remember when it was 10%) in return for… well, still waiting for months to hear if a book is going to be bought or not. 15% of potential future earnings in return for what amounts to a foot in the door. The talented will still get through, but circus poodles have to jump through fewer hoops.
And at the same time that I’m completely disgusted with the sheer rudeness of it all, I am reminded of a quote from Terry Pratchett. When I first read this, I was still working in theater, and I laughed out loud in recognition. I find I laugh even harder now, and it’s very difficult to be disgusted and laugh at the same time. I prefer laughing.
“The money in the chorus isn’t very good, is it?!” [Christine] said.
“No.” It was less than you’d get for scrubbing floors. The reason was that, when you advertised a dirty floor, hundreds of hopefuls didn’t turn up.
I sent one of my children off to a publisher over the weekend. As usual, the thing that gave me the most trouble wasn’t the blurb (I used to do marketing brochures, blurbs are cake) or the synopsis. Formatting is a breeze.
No, what was killing me was deciding on the line where I perceived my story belonging. This particular publisher doesn’t have “erotic romance” as a category.
I posted my conundrum at Absolute Write, because right after I hit submit, I get wired up and second guess every word. Thank goodness for forums filled with people with more experience. The other writers talked me off the ledge, and put forth something I hadn’t considered: E-publishers of romance are almost by definition publishing erotic romance. Therefore, they don’t bother posting that as a category. It’s like the way there are no Italian restaurants in Italy. They’re just restaurants!
If that’s correct, well, I guessed right on the line for my submission. I know rationally that it doesn’t matter. If the story meets their editorial needs, they aren’t going to bounce it just because I labeled it wrong. Still, this is a numbers game, and I know it’s my job to not give them any excuses to put down my story. And after I hit submit, overthinking is my middle name. Gives me something to do during the endless wait.