What's the deal with publishers?
Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Member JJBuchholz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, CANADA
    Posts
    174

    What's the deal with publishers?

    I've been sending out a lot of my work to various publishers (online, magazines, fiction papers, university papers, etc.) as of late, and with little success. Now, I know this isn't going to happen overnight. I'm about four months into a publication blitz, and I've started to hear back from some of them. I've so far gotten four responses, all negative. They all basically say that, "We appreciate your submission but we cannot possibly print everything that is submitted" or "Thank you for your submission, but it doesn't fit with what we publish" in a nutshell.

    1) I went through submission guidelines on all their websites and made sure that I sent a story that fell within said guidelines.
    2) Is there a reason why they don't give more insight as to WHY they refused it? I'd like to know what is the problem so I can improve whatever that doesn't sit well. I can't improve my writing if I don't know what's wrong with it!
    3) Are they all just snobs because they answer to no one?

    I'll keep writing regardless, as it's my passion. But.....I hope to one day understand how this all works in regards to publishers.

    -JJB
    ​"Strong convictions precede great actions....."

  2. #2
    My understanding is that publishers rarely personalize responses for two reasons:

    1 - they are generally swamped with submissions and don't have the time or energy to respond personally to each one;

    and

    2 - they don't want to invite a dialogue. Connected to the "no time or energy" answer, but with the added twist that apparently a substantial number of rejected authors will respond to personalized rejections either with arguments ("you said the characterization wasn't deep enough, but my mom AND my aunt both said the characters were perfect!") or with aggression.

    Sad, isn't it?

    And frustrating. It's hard to figure out what you need to improve when they won't tell you why they rejected your work or even how close you got to acceptance.

  3. #3
    I'm surprised you could find any publishers that still accept unsolicited queries from unagented writers. Even Permuted Platinum now requires an agent before they'll talk to you.

    Actually rejections have improved in the digital age. Back in the day when you had to send out SASE for the reply, not only did they send you those vague rejections, but usually the letter was a copy of a copy of a copy of the original letter, so it looked like ass. They couldn't even reject you with a nice looking letter---the thing looked like someone had stepped on it before they sent it.

    But rejections are just part of the road to being a writer. I still have a drawer in the office that is stuffed full of rejections...and it's a fairly big drawer. Rejections and queries were a large part of why I became an Indie writer; the negativity was beginning to inhibit my creative side.

  4. #4
    Member JJBuchholz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, CANADA
    Posts
    174
    Quote Originally Posted by Bayview View Post
    2 - they don't want to invite a dialogue. Connected to the "no time or energy" answer, but with the added twist that apparently a substantial number of rejected authors will respond to personalized rejections either with arguments ("you said the characterization wasn't deep enough, but my mom AND my aunt both said the characters were perfect!") or with aggression.
    Indeed. Although I haven't felt the need to argue, the responses do leave me wondering as to why there wasn't more of an answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bayview View Post
    Sad, isn't it?

    And frustrating. It's hard to figure out what you need to improve when they won't tell you why they rejected your work or even how close you got to acceptance.
    Exactly. How the hell am I supposed to improve on something if I don't know what that something is? Extremely frustrating.

    -JJB
    ​"Strong convictions precede great actions....."

  5. #5
    Hey there,

    As to the answers to the 2 below, one insight: publishing is not an easy business to make money in. Most of the presses that actually accept non-agented submissions are working on a small budget which equals minimal staff. They can get hundreds to thousands of submissions. Form letters aren't being snobbish, it is an efficient way to get a rejection out as most submissions get rejected for a variety of reasons. When the decision is to either send out form rejections or just close up shop because there is no way to pay for enough staff to respond personally to many, many rejections, it is better for authors in the long run to receive form rejections. There are places out there that do provide feedback on short fiction. I don't have the list but google it and you might find out which ones they are. Submit to them if you want specific feedback, but they usually take a much longer time for responses. Anyway, one perspective that I thought I'd share.

    2) Is there a reason why they don't give more insight as to WHY they refused it? I'd like to know what is the problem so I can improve whatever that doesn't sit well. I can't improve my writing if I don't know what's wrong with it!
    3) Are they all just snobs because they answer to no one?

  6. #6
    Also, there are places that have free submissions but if you want feedback you can pay $25 or some amount and they will take the time to give you a critique. Such as Master's Review. Although it would be nice, it just isn't a company's job to help you improve as a candidate just because you applied for their job. Publishing is a business like any other. It is the writer's responsibility to improve their writing. Granted, it's nice when it happens but it certainly isn't something that you should expect. That said, hang in there. One of the best books I read last year was from an author who wrote and trashed 4 novels before writing one that he felt was ready for submission. Submitted it to agents for over a year before an agent took him on as a client. The agent had him pretty much rewrite it. Then the agent submitted it for years before a publisher signed it. Becoming a writer for the large majority of writers is a long game for sure.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
This website uses cookies
We use cookies to store session information to facilitate remembering your login information, to allow you to save website preferences, to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners.