PDA

View Full Version : Deciding on a Manuscript is Like Clothes Shopping



melaniehoo
07-08-2008, 08:14 PM
Rachelle Gardner's blog post, Why "No" Comes Quickly, explains how agents and editors can make a quick decision to say no, using a clothes-shopping analogy.

http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/2008/07/why-no-comes-quickly.html


Obviously, I couldn't take everything in the whole store into the fitting room. Not only was there no time for that, there's no need. Many items are clearly not for me after a relatively brief look.

She makes some interesting points.

jannawrites
07-08-2008, 08:29 PM
Sounds very pertinent for me right now. Thanks! I'm gonna go check it out.

Mmm... clothes shopping...

melaniehoo
07-08-2008, 08:30 PM
Sounds very pertinent for me right now. Thanks! I'm gonna go check it out.

Mmm... clothes shopping...

Yeah, I almost sent the link to you AND Wendy. :D

WendyNYC
07-08-2008, 08:34 PM
Thanks, Melanie. That was both interesting and intimidating. But I'm getting used to the intimidating part. I think.

Quossum
07-08-2008, 08:40 PM
Great post. Reminds me of a book I read many, many years ago called You Can Write a Romance (And Get it Published!) by Yvonne MacManus, which I read to get insight into the publishing business even though I wasn't at all into romances. (Ah, 1983, I see inside the cover...)

Here's a brief quote along those same lines from that book, as the author discusses the slush pile and such:

There's an anecdote told about the late Bennett Cerf. Apparently, one of his readers at Random House returned a submission with a standard rejection form. The author, irate, wrote directly to Mr. Cerf in protest.

Dear Mr. Cerf:
I was aghast at the return of my manuscript when it wasn't even given a complete reading. I know no one there read the entire book because I stapled some of the pages together before sending it to you. It came back with the pages still stapled!

As gossip has it, the letter went on and on in furious indignation. And as the story goes, Mr. Cerf allegedly wrote back: "My dear sir...one does not have to eat the whole egg to know that it is rotten."

I consider the slush pile much like those preliminary auditions for American Idol, in which Simon et al destroy the dreams of singer after singer from hearing only a few lines of a single song. Some singers insist on singing more, plead that "everyone I know says I sound just like Mariah!," but the experts remain unmoved.

Now and then they might miss a gem, sure...but for the most part, their instant judgment is pretty sound, and most certainly it is when dealing with horribly atonal, Really Really Bad Singers.

--Q

jannawrites
07-08-2008, 08:40 PM
Thanks, Melanie. That was both interesting and intimidating. But I'm getting used to the intimidating part. I think.

You said it. I think I may be getting better at handling such things, too. The initial blow is overwhelming, but then the discomfort ebbs and it seems not quite so bad. More manageable.

Voyager
07-08-2008, 08:40 PM
Yeah, well, sometimes, no matter how well you think you've considered, sometimes those new jeans still make your butt look big.

quickWit
07-08-2008, 08:42 PM
Yeah, well, sometimes, no matter how well you think you've considered, sometimes those new jeans still make your butt look big.

Just a bit of editing there V. I fixed it for ya.

dolores haze
07-08-2008, 08:46 PM
Yeah, well, sometimes, no matter how well you think you've considered, sometimes those new jeans still make your butt look big.

Or they could look fabulous on someone else. Agents have different tastes.

jannawrites
07-08-2008, 08:48 PM
Agents have different tastes.

Add that to the fact they could be having a bad day - or any number of factors - and it's a wonder anyone ever gets matched up with the right agent.

ETA: I know I sound pessimistic. But those are the thoughts that trip me up and overwhelm me so.

CaroGirl
07-08-2008, 08:51 PM
Great analogy. Of course I'd like every agent or editor to take one look at my work and say yes. But, if it has to be no, I hope it's a quick one. Like pulling off that damn Bandaid.

dwellerofthedeep
07-08-2008, 08:51 PM
Ouch. This doesn't seem unfair, and it makes sense, but the long odds hurt me.

melaniehoo
07-08-2008, 08:54 PM
Quossum, that's another great analogy. Anything to ease the pain...