Friday, September 28, 2007

Proof That It's Still Happening

Attending a SCBWI conference last spring, I had an extremely positive paid critique and response from an editor from a top publishing company. She made some excellent suggestions and invited me to resend the picture book after I made the changes, which I did. Now...tick, tock....much time has passed—and like any hopeful writer, I’m still hoping. This is a closed house. Do I assume I’ve been rejected? Or do I send a friendly reminder nudge?

It's about time for some more of this topic, isn't it?
Without knowing how much time we're talking about—as I keep reminding my readers, time passes much more quickly for editors than it does for authors—I would say, yes, nudge her. And keep nudging her, politely, pleasantly, every three months or so from now until whenever she finally gets back to you. But while you're doing that, keep submitting! Sometimes manuscripts fall into a black hole, and trying to figure out why or what you can do about it is just going to make you nuts.


Anonymous said...

This brings up another question--I've heard of this happening a LOT, and far too often, writers who got really positive comments from editors in critiques get a scant form rejection after many months and usually a status check. What gives? Are editors overly optimistic because it's hard to reject face to face? Are they encouraging a writer as a whole who they see has talent, even if that particular project isn't there yet? Or do they just want to get these people out of their hair, no matter what they end up saying? I haven't been in this situation, so I don't have a vested interest, but I have seen it repeated so often that I'm curious.

Anonymous said...

It can be any of the above, for me. It is VERY hard for most of us not to be positive face to face. Sometimes we ARE encouraging perceived talent, and the first project or twelve you might submit simply either aren't there yet or are not a good fit for the editor/house. I've also read promising chapters at conferences only to get the full ms and discover the rest of the book is a red-hot mess, and not something on which I'm going to be able to spend the time giving detailed feedback. I always try to offer more than a bare-bones form rejection (unless there's nothing that can possibly be said and the author scares me a little), but the reasons why won't necessarily fill up a letter. If something might end up working, I'll offer more feedback; if it's never going to work for me, it's better and more expedient for both of us if I just gently let it go. So unfortunately, it's just the way it is: positive comments at a conference won't always yield positive results, for any number of reasons. We mean well, though, and as with any rejection it's not worth taking personally.

Alison Ashley Formento said...

Thanks, EA, for the advice. I have continued subbing said manuscript. I'll nudge the silent editor and hope to hear something—even a rejection is better than no response at all.

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