Monday, November 12, 2007

Editor Speak Strikes Again!

If this is not a repetitive question could you please define what "slightly more commercial then we would pursue" means. That word commercial, has me a bit befuddled!
I was just thinking it's about time we had another round of What's -This-Editor-Thinking, otherwise known as the Magic Decoder Ring of Editor Speak. Come one, come all, and email me with your favorite unintelligible editorial comments; I'll try to translate (but no promises). Offer ends on Friday; not applicable where prohibited by law; etc, etc.

Commercial is one of those terms that you know for sure you understand until someone asks you to define it for them.
I not infrequently run into manuscripts that could stand to be a bit more commercial, in that they could stand to appeal to a wider audience.
Saying something is too commercial, though, could be taken a couple ways. Maybe this editor feels it's too mass-market, as in, would be most at home at Kmart and Target rather than at trade bookstores.
Or maybe she means it's trying to appeal to so wide an audience that it's lost it's own uniqueness, and thus has no particular audience.
Or... it's possible there's an interpretation I'm not thinking of right now.

If you cannot make head nor tail of an editorial comment, chances are you should just ignore it. (Remember The 8 Rules of Rejections?) But if you just want to have some fun with them, go ahead an email 'em to me.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

My personal favorite:

"it's too quiet."

krw3b said...

I have a friend who just got a rejection from an ed who said, she loved the concept, loved the genuine voice, loved the really great writing, but rejected the ms b/c she wanted to see more b/w 2 characters.

As writers we hear over and over that plot can be fixed. But believable voice, solid writing, original concept, etc...have to be there first.

So what was the deal-e-oh here? Not even a revision request. Although she did ask to see anything else of the writer's.

Is there a subliminal message, like, "I adore this, but my publisher will never green-light this project," huh?

For writers, these kinds of rejections are both exhilarating and excruciating.

ae said...

I've had the exact same thing. EXACT SAME THING. And now I freeze. I don't know what the hell to send her. As a matter of fact, I don't know what the hell to send anyone anymore, as all I get are personal letters. I feel as if I am shooting into the wind. So I write and illustrate (for myself). But I am losing interest in submitting. I am at a loss and losing interest period in submitting to houses...because no one else has it. So I do it for myself and that is about it.
I hope someday when I am dead that someone will display my artwork. Maybe there will be a "SIGH". She's dead but take a look...

Deirdre Mundy said...

My husband has noticed that I get more vague yet personal rejections of the "I loved this, really enjoyed it, want a copy for mysekf but...no.." variety between May and September...

Even worse are the friendly, unsigned replies from publishers who told me not to include a SASE b/c they only respond if interested... so someone actually SPENT MONEY to send me a vaguely polite rejection..


His diagnosis? Summer Interns.

(Though I half-wonder if the polite rejection from the "only respond if interested" publisher was, in fact, a veiled attempt to say "please don't EVER submit to us again." Then I stop being paranoid and make another pot of coffee to make me feel better...)

Anonymous said...

If I were you I'd send my query and chapters to agents and try to get representation. If a ms is that close, an agent may try to help you get it into saleable shape. My agent did. She gave me revision notes such that after she sold it, the notes from my editor amounted to something less than 50 changed words or so.

The other nice thing about having an agent is she'll read your next work and your next. And, even though the agent will receive personal rejections that say things like loved the this and that and this, but no. You don't have to see those if you don't want.

ae said...

Mr/Ms Anonaboveme. I think you are right. My only caution is you have to find the right one... SMILE

Anonymous said...

"enjoyed but not substantial enough"?

Anonymous said...

Oops, I guess that I should have emailed the statement above for feedback, but I'd still be curious as to what it means, exactly...

Anonymous said...

Oh, krw3b -- thank you for your post. I got a rejection like that a week ago, and it stung. I said to myself as I read it, but... but... I can fix THAT!

So sad to be so close yet so far.

ae said...

I've had an ed say she loved the voice, the plot, and the premise but not the dialogue. There were literally all of three lines of dialogue in that ms.

If she really wanted to work on it she would say so. That's all (in a Meryl Streepy kind of way).

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