Saturday, 17 December 2011

17th December 2011 Lesson 101 on submissions.

I really, really find rejecting submissions something that is very, difficult. As an author I know how hard it is to take each rejection professionally rather than personally, and how hard it can be to grow the thick skin required to paper your walls with rejection slips.

I’ve rejected submissions for all kinds of reasons, from bad writing to bad plotting, stylistic issues to poor presentation. I’ve rejected manuscripts on purely commercial grounds, they don’t fit with our portfolio, or are too far “out there” to be a commercial success for us. I’ve even turned down books because of their highly questionable content, and no, I’m not going to elaborate on that one little bit, I’ll let you use your imaginations as to why I spend the next few minutes after reading them thinking about worshipping at the large throated white god in the bathroom. That’s just talking about fiction, we’ve pretty much pulled out of the non-fiction market having been bombarded with diet and self-help for self-harmers books where the author had no qualifications to write the book in the first place.

Today’s rejection though takes the biscuit, one I never thought I’d have to issue. It took me about three minutes to read the e-mail with a growing sense of disbelief, and about two more minutes to confirm my memory.

The reason for this rejection?

A serious Submission 101 breach.

It had already been rejected by us before! Fifteen months ago!

We hadn’t suggested a rewrite and resubmit, it had been a flat rejection, go find yourself someone else. I’ve come across authors who stubbornly send one book after another to a publisher, to be rejected time and time again until the publisher loses patience and says go forth and multiply, but honestly, to send the same book in again?

I have to be careful, this blog is turning into a crusading tirade against human stupidity.

I'm beginning to wonder if I’m the one who needs help.


  1. As I just indicated in the last post - take an aspirin ... No! Take 2! ... and drink a full glass of wine or ale or whatever they give you in the local pub.

    Just remember - it could get worse. :)

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