Saturday, March 2, 2013

No One Likes Rejection, But....

... come on...'show me the money!'

What is your publishing and/or writing pet peeve and how did you solve it?

      Image courtesy

In short--No reply from a publisher or agent.

   The publishing world is in the midst of huge changes. What had been a fairly static industry for the last couple hundred years has been turned on its head by the revolution of the e-book and self publishing. Up until very recently most manuscripts were submitted in paper—postage and dead trees the heavy toll. Literary agents were the absolute gatekeepers and it was a very small 'elite' crowd that decided what America would read.

   I guess elitism dies hard for some.

   The job description of agent is changing, even being questioned as to validity. Formatting a manuscript for submission is not so dire as it is sure to need to be reformatted to fit electronic form, and an 'anything goes' mentality has been adopted by many authors as they can now reach, until now, unreachable niche markets.

   So why, one might wonder, do some of the old school publishers and agents still not respond to an author's submission? 

   Some do not even acknowledge an author's submission with a form rejection. A subset of this group does not send a computer generated 'got it' acknowledgement to the author. In this day and age when such auto responses are business etiquette, let alone common courtesy, it is a pet peeve of mine that dead silence still occurs. 

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   Sure they are busy. What business is not? But to let an author who has spent months toiling over a manuscript, pouring heart and soul into its creation, languish without so much as a 'Thanks but no thanks' to me is unconscionable. ( 'Tell us how you really feel, Christine.' )

   As a small fish author in a huge pond, there is no way to force courtesy. 
image courtesy

   Thus, I can not solve this pet peeve, but...

 Personally, I do not submit to any publisher that says something to the effect: "If you do not hear from us, our answer is no thanks." How long does it take to click a button, sending out a form rejection to the group of authors that have been read that day? This is not the place to cut corners, IMO. 

   'Publishing is a small industry so watch your P's and Q's because anything you do or say today will surely come round to bite you'---so goes the sage wisdom given to authors.

   Dare I say the same could be said of the reputation of a publisher/agent with authors? After following submission guidelines to within a gnat's eyelash and jumping through hoops to individualize a submission through research and polite approach, to be met with silence is supreme rudeness/arrogance. 

   Sorry--"busy" does not excuse it.

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   Yep--I could go on with pet peeves, but am interested to hear what reader's pet peeves are about our industry. Does bad editing drive you crazy? Do you hate 'free' books for only one day? What about those e-books that are priced as high or higher than their print format twin?

   Comment, and you just may win a free Muse e-book of your choice. Maybe one of mine?? *wink*


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Unknown said...

That's one that always bugged me,too. Really, how long does it take to send a form reply? Not that long. And an automated reply that your e-mail was received is just as easy.

Thanks for sharing, Christine!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your post, Christine. Some publishing houses seem to think they don't need to show any courtesy. A little good manners can make a great impression and it's not hard to send a polite e-mail. It bugs me as well when people lack manners. I sympathise!

Christine London said...

This is but one of the reasons I ADORE Muse. Lea and her crew are consummate professionals, caring and always courteous.

In the case of publishing I truly believe that good guys finish first in the hearts of their authors, staff and readers.

Harlie Williams said...

Christine, you and I are on the same wave length. My post on Monday is the opposite of yours.

I will agree that publishers that don't even acknowledge your existent bug the heck out of me.

Its called professional courtesy and I won't even buy a book from them.


P.S. If it weren't for Lea, I wouldn't be published today and I will forever be grateful. My experience with Muse has been awesome and I tell people all the time to submit to Muse.

Marsha said...

Christine, love the pics along with this post. Yeah, I hate not even knowing the company received the submission. I don't know the technicalities of how to set up that auto-response, but I love getting those. In a couple of instances when I didn't get one, I've emailed to politely inquire and sure enough, they didn't receive the submission. So I resent. In the early days of my writing career, I was too unsure of myself and never checked back.Probably some of them weren't received. I say now, if you don't hear back. Check. Good post, Christine, and I love your picture.

Christine London said...

Harlie- I totally agree. Muse rocks!

Thanks for the compliments, Marsha *grin*

Rosalie Skinner said...

Great post, Christine.
Common courtesy is important in all things.
Rejection is hard enough to take... softening the blow is good policy. Being polite doesn't cost anything.

Barbara Ehrentreu said...

Love your post, Christine. The least these companies can do is send out a rejection form letter. I have received a couple of those years ago and they are deadly. But at least they responded. Silence is the worst.

I agree that Muse is the best. I am also indebted to Lea for publishing my book and recognizing me as an author. That is why I am submitting my second book to Muse as well. Why waste time with a big publisher who probably won't appreciate my writing.:)

Lea said...

Great post, Christine.

I have to admit that I'm not always on the ball with emails. It's simply impossible. My problem is that I file them to respond later and later escapes me.

But I am in the same boat as you are in but from the publisher's side now: no responses from a few vendors/associations I have emailed numerous times for info to get our books into their system. A simple "You're a small house and we don't like small houses" would have been accepted and respected by me than a complete 'click on the ignore button'.

At times I think many forget where they the dungeon with little light and pocketchange to help us get through each level. And I say 'dungeon' only because my little one has taught me that in order to move on with life with less stress you need to look at life like a game and try to reach that next level.

Christine London said...

Good luck on that second submission, Barbara :)

I know just what you mean, Lea. If I promise myself to get back to someone when I have more time to focus on just them, their email sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of trying.Good intentions and all. It is usually the larger publishing houses that neglect to get back to an author's submission. One would think they have a well oiled machine in place to evaluate work, but hey--we are all only human. It's the guys who have a policy of not responding that make me scratch my head.

I sure would not want to be in your shoes with all the people and companies you have to approach. That professional courtesy should be in place there too, so I'm sure you have met with frustration many a time. We all thank you for your tenacity. Excellence on your part shows. Muse is top notch.

Suzanne de Montigny said...

My exact feelings too! And also my feelings too about the Muse. Lea's given us all a voice. One of the things I remember the most about the Muse is the first e-mail I got from Lea introducing herself and telling me she was going to be in charge of evaluating my book. I was really impressed. And I'm really impressed by her tenacity. I'm a very loyal person and so I have chosen to do school visits where I promote the Muse. We have such awesome books and if I can give some of our authors a boost, you bet I will. Long live the Muse!


Sara Durham Writer ~ Author said...

Amen Christine! Just about the time I started submitting manuscripts several years ago, there seemed to be the shift NOT to send a reply by many agents. I was prepared for this because Agent Query had an article which said that 'the cold hard silence' had replaced the rejection letter for many of the agencies. But you are right, in this fiercely competitive electronic world, it is the agent who takes the time to at least send a professional rejection of some sort, that will be remembered and queried again. The others, probably not. There are a lot of agents out there, and if they are smart, they will remain true to the nature of business professionals during this huge electronic shift.

Great post and pics,

Cheers, Sara