The waiting game
Hello from a new member, and thank you in advance for considering these questions...
I went to a large writers conference last year, and met with 2 editors who looked over my nonfiction book proposal and a few chapters, and each requested that I send them the complete mss with the book proposal when I returned home. (The book was already completely written.) Editor #1 emailed me 10 days later (the day she rec'd the mss), saying she loved what she'd read so far, and possibly could give me an answer in 2-3 wks. as they had been looking for a good book on my topic. She also requested the entire mss be sent via email so they could 'work with it' (which I did). Well, that was almost 9 months ago; in the meantime I have sent her emails about 3 or 4 times, twice to ask for updates, once to give her my change of address. She has generally ignored these emails, though she did respond to the second update request very apologetically, saying they were still tackling the 'winter' books (from the previous year), and that my book was still awaiting review. From an insider's point of view, would you say I'm getting the run around, that there is no real interest, or is this par for the course? Is there any reason for hope here?
Editor #2 never rec'd my mss, because she requested I do some rewriting first of the first 3 chapters...and I decided to wait and see how the first publisher responded before tackling that. I've since decided that I would need to rewrite the whole book for it to fit within the format of editor #2's books, and am now interested in rewriting it because I think it will be a better book for the effort. So question #2 is this: what is the 'statute of limitations' on solicited mss? Have I waited too long already (9 months), or would this editor still consider this revised mss a welcome and solicited submission?
I apologize for the length of this query, and deeply appreciate any insights you might offer concerning this!
Re: Publisher #1. Hmm.This is a weird response--it's not uncommon for a slush pile manuscript to sit for a few months, but 9 months is a long time for any manuscript, especially a solicited one. My feeling is that if they loved it that much they would have moved on it well before now. And since they haven't even responded to your last few emails, I think it's time for you to move on.
Regarding Publisher #2: Submit away--if the manuscript is right for the publisher, it won't matter how long it has been since you made contact. The editor you spoke with might not be there anymore, and you may be relegated to the slush pile, but so what? Take your chances! It sounds like your book was good enough that two editors wanted to see it, which means that other editors out there will, too.
the waiting game
Thanks so much for your speedy reply, and for giving me some guidance here. I think it IS time to move on, so thanks for the encouragement, esp. about editor #2. She is still with the publisher--in fact, will be in attendance at the same writing conference this year, and I will be attending one of her seminars. Hope to jog her memory by sitting in the front row and maybe speaking briefly with her at the end of the class. Conference is about 3 months from now, so hopefully by then I'll have an updated mss/proposal to present at appointments with other editors as well.
Thanks again! --pb
You are a wonderful resource for all of us....
and I was wondering how an author with a new manuscript should query and editor if they have been previously "published" by an unscrupulous publisher.
The bottom has dropped out on the reputation of the publisher and, for those of us who signed contracts prior to the disclosures, the situation is like quicksand!
My questions are:
Should an author in this situation NOT disclose their prior work or affiliation with the publisher in the query?
If they don't disclose and the publishing history is revealed, would the authors be rejected based on that fact?
I am asking this on behalf of a writer's group who are all in this confusing and depressing situation. It seems that the prevailing advice is for us to back away from the published works and start over.
What do you think?
This is probably going to surprise you, but most legitimate trade publishers don't pay much attention to--or are even necessarily aware of--Publish America or any of the other pay-to-play presses. I mean, Publishers Weekly finally published an article about Publish America just this winter like it was big news, and apparently the company has been in business for years. Until I started visiting the AW site, I had never even heard of Publish America or any of the POD and vanity presses people on these boards talk about all the time. So while listing a publication done by a vanity press isn't really going to do anything for your publishing career with a legit house (it's not really a publishing "credit" if you had to pay to get it published--follow Jim MacDonald's advice--money should flow toward the writer), if the manuscript you are currently submitting is good and right for their list, a traditional publisher isn't going to hold any previous work against you. Why would they? I can't imagine any publisher rejecting you based on the fact that someone else took advantage of you and cheated you. I'm sorry to hear it--getting a book published is hard enough; getting scammed in the process seems just plain mean.
Your whole writing group got published by the same organization? I don't want to make you feel worse, but didn't that ring a few alarm bells? Or did you all meet after you'd been accepted?
Nomad I think if this is the same publisher I dealt with that we all met after the fact. I know thats how it was for me anyway. I cannot speak for anyone else. By the way it is good to have you here.
From reading these boards this past year, it seems like there are hundreds of good, publishable authors out there who have been scammed--but don't give up on your work or think for a minute that because you were burned your writing isn't worth publication by a *real* publisher. I think it just takes a lot more time--and good timing--to get picked up by a traditional publisher. Small publishers like us take around a dozen books a year, and most mid-sized houses only do about 50 or so a year. That doesn't leave a lot of open space. So do your homework, make sure your manuscript is the best it can be, really hone your list of potential submissions candidates, absolutely, positively make sure the publisher publishes books in your genre, category, and market, and then hope for the best.
I know I did not give up. I have moved forward and sent querys out to about 8 publishers. I am extremely thankful for all that I have learned from this board and others. When I started out writing I was clueless about the publishing industry. Everything that has happended to me has been a real learning experience and for that I am thankful.
Misery Loves Company
Thank for your response!
The addage "Misery Loves Company" comes to mind when I describe the writing group I am talking about. We all found each other after we independently realized that our publisher wasn't living up to their end of the bargain.
Don't get me wrong, we all willingly stepped into the same vat of bubbling goo, but well after that was when the bottom dropped out for all of us.
It is good to know that we all still have chances. I've been sending out a new manuscript lately and, I have to say, my confidence level is really shaken. It's good to know that we can be honest with editors and not be tossed in the circular file because of a prior publishing experience.
I will be sure to forward your comments on to my group, and again...thank you!
Editor #1 is not par for the course. There's something odd and tiresome going on here that you don't need to be putting your life on hold for. Why not resubmit your manuscript, via post, with a letter saying that you've waited 9 months and would appreciate a definite response within two weeks or so? If you don't hear back in 2 weeks, take it elsewhere.
9 months is entirely too long. 3 months at the outside.