Sunday, May 20, 2007

I've Submitted to a Black Hole. When Will It Get Back to Me?

Dear Anonymous Editor
Yet another submissions question: when a publishing house accepts manuscripts during only one month a year, how long would one expect to wait before receiving the enclosed SASP that will tell me they've even received / opened the submission? Or is that something that's likely to fall by the wayside in the craziness that is Slush?

This is among the unknowable questions. It might even be a zen question that isn't meant to have an answer, but to lead you to greater self-knowledge.

Or it could be that I just don't know. Frankly, I wouldn't hold my breath. I can't tell you how disillusioned I've become with the post office. The number of things I've watched them lose is appalling.

So you're dealing with the possibilities that
1. The post office lost your submission
2. The publisher lost your SASP or didn't notice it as they opened the slush
3. The post office lost your SASP
4. The post office lost your mail carrier, its main office, several trucks, and your house

In your newly acquired zen state (assuming you haven't stopped reading this blog in order to buy an M-16) contemplate that you have submitted your story to the universe, and the universe is reading it.

Its reply will be in the mail.


Anonymous said...

I'm assuming you mean the publisher that accepts submissions only in November. Since they're known as being incredibly slow in responding to submissions and their own guidelines state a response time of up to a year, they may not have even opened your submission to discover your SASP. And they probably wouldn't bother to send a SASP back anyway. On their website I just noticed they've changed their submission policy---from now on, they won't accept unsolicited submissions, even in November, "due to significant increases in volume." They'll post targeted submission solicitations only.

Anonymous said...

Thank you both. Guess I'll wait out the year and then submit elsewhere :)

azure said...

Oh no, don't wait a whole year! If you're waiting only because your query letter didn't say it's a simultaneous sub -- forget that. The only one who's going to lose if you keep the ms. off the market is you. I say send it elsewhere, even several elsewheres, as long as each publisher is truly a good fit for the project. If you prefer, inform them that it's a multiple sub. BUT there are professional, selling writers out here (whose names I will not name) who believe -- correctly, IMO -- that it's none of the publisher's doggone business how many houses are looking at a ms. If publishing is no longer a "gentleman's business," then let that apply across the board.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with azure. Unless it's a publisher that specifically requires exclusivity (and this one doesn't) you should submit to whoever you think is a good fit! If everyone waited a whole year for each publisher to respond, we'd all die before getting published. It's hard enough as it is--don't make the odds even worse for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Don't wait on that publisher, please! Many, many published writers never hear back from them at all (myself included. If you want to get out of the black hole, send your query/ms. to the dozen or more publishers that are quite similar to this one. That's the only way to give yourself a fighting chance.

Anonymous said...

If you enquire about it, they will tell you they didn't receive it. In reality THEY have lost it (not the Post Office). Publishers are always losing submissions.

Anonymous said...

I once got a SASP mailed back to me in an envelope along with some other stuff. I'm not sure why but that made me feel really extra small.

To my mind you should never expect to see any SASE or SASP ever again.

Rilla said...

If you want to reduce the probability that it is the post office that lost your submission in the first place...invest in their 'Delivery Notification' option. It won't change anything, but it will make you feel better ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone, it's very encouraging to have you all weighing in. Hmm, I see some rethinking of options in my future - and interesting about the Post Office, btw. I've always been happy with their service - but then, I've experienced far, far worse in my country of origin, and _anything_ is a pleasant surprise after that!

Anonymous said...

Too Weird: (in case anyone cares ;)): guess what was waiting for me in the mailbox today? Not the SASP, but a nicely typed form rejection along with the ms. At least the post office didn't lost it!

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