I'm new enough to the industry that I worry about being "black-balled". Not sure if that kind of thing happens in the publishing business, but I know it happens in other industries.
Remember the kitchen full of slush?
Good. Now imagine that on your way through those piles, one of the authors has done something that you feel is kinda unprofessional.
At least half of that sea of manuscripts is from people who haven't even heard of submission guidelines. So unprofessionalism, while often enough to get the manuscript tossed without a second thought, is not nearly enough to get us to remember your name.
If you want publishers to remember you darkly enough to never want to work with you, you'll have to do something on a higher order of Obnoxious, Stupid, or Psychotic. Eg:
- Sending me lingerie, pornographic manuscripts, or death threats. You're nuts. I've given your name to security.
- Calling or emailing me repeatedly in the belief that you're just too charming to have to play by the rules. Using the phone or email forces me to respond personally to you, and the thought of all the patient, rule-abiding, very likely more talented authors in the slush pile who would love to hear from me personally—when in fact I'm busy dealing with jackasses like you—boils my blood.
- Writing a manuscript so totally out of touch with children—or humans—that I have to share it with all of my colleagues.
And it should be said that in these instances, when you've ensured that your name will live on in infamy with me, that does not go for the many other people in the publishing industry. We don't have a bulletin board or secret clan meetings where The People We Must Never Work With are discussed and flogged in effigy. Though that does sound nice.
So rest assured. The next time that publisher gets something from you, they will not be thinking, "It's that person who waited much longer for a response from us that he should have had to and then, when we still didn't respond, submitted his manuscript to a contest! Kill him!"
They're going to think, "Who?"