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Thread: Kick in the head rejection

  1. #11
    Gillian, this is what I was trying to get at. I knew Stephen King and J.K. Rowling had dealt with amazing levels of rejection. Crazy.... I'll bet there are some publishers out there kicking themselves in the ass! LOL!
    Last edited by Amnesiac; March 15th, 2019 at 10:30 PM.
    Me: "You know the way a gun barrel tastes?
    Everyone: Uh... No.

  2. #12
    OP here. I've only recently got into writing fiction again. I wrote three novels in the 1980s but got a journalism job in 1990 and only retired last year. That sucked the fiction writing mojo out of me for nearly 28 years. I needed the time off for family and other pursuits. Anyway, I did submit one ms to an agent in 1988 and she turned it down, but she was friends of friends and lived in the neighbourhood so we had a chance to talk face-to-face about it. She said my alcoholic private detective was a cliched figure (he was) and the story not that interesting. Okay fair enough.

    But being business-minded (Well, I guess that's what agents are supposed to be) she reminded me that publishers usually lose money on a first novel and want to get involved with someone young enough and promising enough to stick with and get them more widely known and make money for everyone with subsequent books. I got the hint that she was telling me that I was over the hill. And I was 35!


    I have had rejection letters and or notes dating back those 31 years. Nowadays they don't even bother with that. They can't seem to afford a slip of paper and a stamp. You just email a manuscript off into the ozone and if you don't hear from them in 2 or 3 months, that means they are not interested.

    Let me tell you what happened last year:

    A publisher had my manuscript for over two months and I didn't hear back from them.

    They had acknowledged receipt of the ms so I had the editor's name. I emailed her numerous times asking her if her decision was Yay or Nay with no response at all.

    Therefore I looked her up on Facebook and sure enough, there she was, so I sent her a pm on Facebook.

    Well Holy Smoke!!!! You should have seen the response. I should have saved it. She said that I was conducting entirely inappropriate and offensive behaviour and that I had no business at all contacting her on Facebook and that I must never ever contact her again like that. She effectively accused me of stalking her.

    Well, shortly after that she sent me an email from the office saying yes, she had rejected the book, reminding me that she had said in her responding letter that if I didn't hear from her in two months, then they weren't interested. She added that it was not permitted to contact editors personally.

    To be honest , they had published two of a friend's books in a similar vein (West Coast Canada boat-based mystery/thriller) and I was convinced that my book was as good as his and that they'd surely accept it. I might have been a little overconfident and wanted to know for sure yes or no before proceeding to pitch it elsewhere. I had as asked in their requirements, offered it to them as an exclusive submission.

    As far as contacting her on FB, well, I was a journalist for 28 years; I know how to find people, and besides, when you post your name, your photo, holiday and family pics on FB, it's hardly a secret is it?

    Anyway, immediately after that she removed herself from Facebook.

  3. #13
    So unprofessional. I contacted an editor under similar circumstances and she thanked me, said that she hadn't read the ms and would take a look. Still a bounce but I felt better about it. I network with editors on a regular basis. People like CC Finlay and Ellen Datlow are on my FB friends list and I have had communications with them. And I'm nobody. There are reasons why they're at the top of their profession. Good role models...I'm an editor. And now a publisher.
    I'm not always nice but I try to be fair.
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  4. #14
    MichelD: I gotta side with the editor. You said you emailed her multiple times, then tried to contact via FB.
    That's some bad hat, Harry.

    Send your queries, but don't hold your breath until they come back. Just move on to new queries to new publishers/agents.
    The only reason to even keep track of queries is so you know where you have already applied.
    As for follow up, don't bother.


    Mod; followup prolly worked for you because of professional courtesy. But it rarely works for new writers who have no relationship with the publisher. In fact, they hate dat chit.

  5. #15
    I don't even know what "That's bad hat Harry" means.

    Yes I emailed her with no reply so I took other steps.

    If she didn't have the politeness to take 10 seconds to write "Thanks but no thanks" in a return email I remain unapologetic.

    Pre-Internet they would take the time to at least post a form letter.

    Now in this instant communication era someone can't even take seconds to hammer out a few words into an email? I'll say no more.





    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    MichelD: I gotta side with the editor. You said you emailed her multiple times, then tried to contact via FB.
    That's some bad hat, Harry.

    Send your queries, but don't hold your breath until they come back. Just move on to new queries to new publishers/agents.
    The only reason to even keep track of queries is so you know where you have already applied.
    As for follow up, don't bother.


    Mod; followup prolly worked for you because of professional courtesy. But it rarely works for new writers who have no relationship with the publisher. In fact, they hate dat chit.

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by MichelD View Post
    I don't even know what "That's bad hat Harry" means.

    Yes I emailed her with no reply so I took other steps.

    If she didn't have the politeness to take 10 seconds to write "Thanks but no thanks" in a return email I remain unapologetic.

    Pre-Internet they would take the time to at least post a form letter.

    Now in this instant communication era someone can't even take seconds to hammer out a few words into an email? I'll say no more.
    You were out of order.

    First of all, you need to consider for context that creative industry people do get some pretty deranged/obsessive people. Likely more than a few who take rejection extremely poorly...

    Generally, Facebook is not considered an appropriate platform for tapping up a prospective (or current, for that matter) business connection. It just isn't. The fact that some, as moderan mentioned, are happy to correspond through there is irrelevant: It's not a platform designed for business solicitations between total strangers without both parties' consent. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's against Facebook's Terms Of Service. Strike One for you.

    Coupled with that, Facebook is people put photos of their kids and check in to their favorite ice cream joint, so there's a safety factor. The editor had every right to respond harshly to what she felt was an overstep, especially since she had put in the submission requirements that if you did not hear back from her in 2 months consider it rejected. It appeared you did not read her submission requirements properly, or else (and more insidiously from her POV), you were too full of yourself to think they applied. That is Strike Two.

    Sorry if the above is harsh but the level of entitlement is astounding. You complain about people not taking the time but time is money; a few seconds to type out an email multiplied by dozens and dozens of people who also expect their 'few second email' in addition to other business (believe it or not, that is a thing) adds up to a twelve hour day pretty quickly. It's just not your business to say how much time people do or do not have for you. Thus, you just lost somebody who might have bought your work in the future. Strike Three.
    Last edited by luckyscars; March 16th, 2019 at 12:57 AM.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  7. #17
    I find that all so much hooey. Times are changing and in my mind that editor was being oversensitive...granted that I agree that the pursuit of publication was somewhat over-the-top. But the description of the language involved was also over-the-top. The big five editors I know make themselves available and responsible for such things...also, I find that "If you don't hear from us by..." to be extremely unprofessional and unresponsive to the marketplace. One has to stand by one's own decisions.
    Hidden Content
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  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by moderan View Post
    I find that all so much hooey. Times are changing and in my mind that editor was being oversensitive...granted that I agree that the pursuit of publication was somewhat over-the-top. But the description of the language involved was also over-the-top. The big five editors I know make themselves available and responsible for such things...also, I find that "If you don't hear from us by..." to be extremely unprofessional and unresponsive to the marketplace. One has to stand by one's own decisions.
    I am not saying I think this person was or was not oversensitive, mod, because I don't know all the info. I am saying irrespective of the editor being unprofessional and/or oversensitive, the OP definitely acted unprofessionally and foolishly. And in this case I'm not willing to throw names at the agent just yet, because:

    - We don't know what the OP said in his private message to her, as of course he did not quote it.
    - We don't know the exact verbiage of the editor's reply to assess the OP's biased interpretation of it.
    - We don't know which editor this is, their submission terms, or how clearly these are submitted on their website.

    What we do know: Some dude looked up a stranger's Facebook account to try to pressure them into making a business decision in his favor.

    The big name editors you mention may well use their social media differently. I'll take your word for that. I assume most of them can operate differently because they have people to help them with the slush pile.

    Either way, it's irrelevant. We are talking about this editor and comparing them to what is standard among all agents, not just the big boys: We aren't comparing a lemonade stand to The Coca Cola Company, we are comparing a lemonade stand to other lemonade stands. I can say for sure it is totally normal to get no response to a submission: I have submitted hundreds of stories over the years and probably less than half got any sort of reply at all.

    So, either more than half of them are 'unprofessional' or indeed 'times have changed' and we writers expect too damn much. Either way, it matters not.
    Last edited by luckyscars; March 16th, 2019 at 06:06 AM.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  9. #19
    Look, you can argue all day long about if you were right or wrong, but the proof is in the pudding: that editor will never look at ANY of your work again, you are dead to them.
    So right, wrong, left, right, the ultimate result was a permanent NO.

    So, is it rude for the editor to not get back to you? Yes.
    Is it atypical in this business? Not at all.
    Are they wrong for not getting back to you in a timely manner? Not in this business.
    Do they owe you an explanation? No.

    And FYI: even back in the days of SASE queries, easily a quarter of the publishers never replied.
    The ones that did usually did it with the absolute worst copy of a form letter they could find.












    "That's some bad hat, Harry."
    It's a line from Jaws.

  10. #20
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    Honestly, I'd consider FB as personal space. Unless you're close friend (adding as friend in FB doesn't mean jacksh*t), I'd suggest to keep business communication strictly through business contact.

    Not replying really suck major balls. I've been dealing with these professionals when I was looking for job in the past few years. Not replying back means either they are still in review or you're simply done for. Contacting them for an update is acceptable. But once they give no reply, then it's safe to just consider yourself failed.

    I understand on the notion about being in simpler digital era and yet they still can't type a few words of confirmation. But we have to look at ourselves. We are nobody. If we were Stephen King or JK Rowling, then you can bet they'd piss in their pants looking forward to your replies.

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