Publishers. They confuse me.....

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  1. #1
    Member JJBuchholz's Avatar
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    Publishers. They confuse me.....

    I've received two more rejections from publishers today, and nothing ever makes any sense.
    I've been rejected by publishers several times over the course of the year, and they always
    send me a short paragraph telling me they can't use my work, or say that "It's not what we're
    looking for" and little else.

    Publishers never seem to talk about the WHY they won't use my work, and it's left me confused,
    sad, angry, and pissed off at the same time. How hard can it be for them to briefly explain why
    they don't want my work? If I'm doing something wrong, how in the hell can I learn if I don't
    know what the issue is?

    Is this common amongst publishers? Is it due to the fact that they are overly picky?

    I need answers, and I don't get any from them no matter what I do!

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

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  2. #2
    It happens often to many of us. Accumulate some magazine credits and then get plenty of workshop advice ( publish for free to get some credits). Then rewrite. Rewriting is an important part of the process ( wish we had a rewriter's workshop only for edits and revisions). Don't send multiple submissions until you've won the emotions of your audience ( readers on this forum and anywhere where you can get betaread). Science fiction conventions at least when I am writing can be tough which is why I will shy away from writing hard science fiction. I am thinking of using genres that dont need a lot of research.

    Preserve. My writing has been by instinct it seems since I still havent found a book that competently explains how to do basic things such as plotting. I just write what comes to mind. Read plenty to apply what if to a story situation or news story. That advice may seem basic but you cant wait for inspiration to arrive. A solution could be to write different genres for that last problem. Another thing is what they mean by a good fit is you need to read the magazine, and try reading the works the magazine editors recommend if you can. That is the elusive research part of writing.
    Last edited by Theglasshouse; November 2nd, 2018 at 03:44 AM.
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by JJBuchholz View Post
    I've received two more rejections from publishers today, and nothing ever makes any sense.
    I've been rejected by publishers several times over the course of the year, and they always
    send me a short paragraph telling me they can't use my work, or say that "It's not what we're
    looking for" and little else.

    Publishers never seem to talk about the WHY they won't use my work, and it's left me confused,
    sad, angry, and pissed off at the same time. How hard can it be for them to briefly explain why
    they don't want my work? If I'm doing something wrong, how in the hell can I learn if I don't
    know what the issue is?

    Is this common amongst publishers? Is it due to the fact that they are overly picky?

    I need answers, and I don't get any from them no matter what I do!

    -JJB
    Some people react to specifics with arguments. The folks sending you the rejection letters probably don't want to invite responses to their specific criticisms, telling them how wrong they are.

    Also, time is valuable. They want to spend their time on things that will generate money. Giving feedback to an unknown who didn't wow them is unlikely to bring in money. Maybe, if that unknown takes the critique to heart, it might pay off. But for every one that would improve and resubmit, fifteen to twenty would argue or sulk.

    Maybe you're the one. But they don't know that.

    Have you posted anything here for feedback?

  4. #4
    If it helps you decide there are non-paying venues that always give feedback but dont pay.
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)

  5. #5
    Yeah, my publisher is an asshole.
    I hate that guy.

    Oh wait. I am my publisher.

  6. #6
    Form letters suck. Targeting to publisher needs is hard. If you're working novels, get an agent. They'll not only have contacts to help sell the work, but will get better feedback than you will.
    Building up an audience via periodicals/anthos is highly recommended. Get enough buzz and the publishers will contact you.




    "From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it." - Groucho Marx

  7. #7
    Not sure if it would help, but the most polite thing I can think of would be a letter stating

    "Thank you for your response. I am sorry that my work does not meet your needs at this time. So that I can assist you better in future, would it be possible for you to offer advice on how I might tailor future submissions to better fit with your current priorities?"

    That is an offer to build a better business relationship with them, and they might give better feedback about what THEY need to see or about something you might not be doing. They may have some specific concerns that you are not aware of that might be specific to them, and they don't want to take the time to offer feedback when the majority of people might not be bothered to read it.

  8. #8
    I think the answer is simply that the job of the publishers is not to teach you via feedback, or any other method in fact, but to make money publishing books. Why would they spend time explaining to every writer what is unsuitable about their work? It would be time wasted as far as making money is concerned, especially considering the high numbers of submissions they get.

    I think some of the advice here sounds great. Get recognition from anywhere you can then you can back up your submissions with that. You could also take a class in creative writing to see if you're on the right track.

    Good luck and keep going.

    Arachne

  9. #9
    I've never submitting anything for publishing (future goal) but could it be that you submitted it to a publisher who's genre preference doesn't match what you submitted? I'm not sure how it works (and this is a far fetched example) but if you submitted a fantasy manuscript to a publisher who mostly publishes home care books, I would imagine you'd get a rejection letter. Not because the work isn't good but because that isn't their genre. Just throwing a thought out.

  10. #10
    I do not think I write a good query letter, and I know why. First of all, my books are too long and it's almost impossible for me to write a one-paragraph synopsis. Second, I write fiction. I tell stories. I am not good at telling other people about the great story I wrote. Because I have tried really hard to focus on publishers who publish the type of books I like to write, I have to believe that my query letters just suck. LOL.

    So, I went online to find out how to do it better, and for every "expert" on the subject, I found that many styles.

    Give them your information, but don't give to much. They are not your friends.

    Let them know all about you, and how your experiences make you able to tell your story.

    Do put the whole story out there.

    Don't put the whole story out there.

    Tell the publisher you admire their website, or follow them even if you don't.

    Don't compliment the publisher on anything; stick to your book.

    If they want a chapter, send one. Do not send anything more than what they want.


    Anyway, I hear you. I was just thinking that, theoretically it might be helpful to have an area for critiques of query letters here. Is there a place for that on WF?
    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we'll see
    No, I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand by me.


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