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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    something you should know about editors and rejection letters

    Hi all,
    I'm new here and new to fiction writing. Sitting on a middle-childhood novel manuscript, ruminating about publication options, I have this in the back of my mind and wanted to share it with those of you who perhaps are unaware. My BA is in psyc, and my love within that field is social psychology. Please read this textbook excerpt dealing with overconfidence phenomenon, and keep it in mind if you get rejection letters from editors. (No offense to editors out there; I've worked as one myself.)

    Editors' assessments of manuscripts also reveal surprising error. Writer Chuck Ross (1979), using a pseudonym, mailed a typewritten copy of Jerzy Kosinski's novel Steps to 28 major publishers and literary agencies. All rejected it, including Random House, which had published the book in 1968 and watched it win the National Book Award and sell more than 400,000 copies. The novel came closest to being accepted by Houghton Mifflin, publisher of three other Kosinski novels: "Several of us read your untitled novel here with admiration for writing and style. Jerzy Kosiniski comes to mind as a point of comparison... The drawback to the manuscript, as it stands, is that it doesn't add up to a satisfactory whole." (Myers, p.111)

    [Myers, D.G. (2005). Social psychology. McGraw Hill: New York.]

    If you believe in your work, and there is an audience out there, keep trying and keep marketing! And don't listen to the doubters.

    Good luck to everyone!



  2. #2
    Junior Member
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    Gilbert Sc
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    Bravo!

  3. #3
    Junior Member
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    May 2011
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    North Yorkshire, UK
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    Rejection letters just seem to be part of the course. A friend of mine just published his first novel after many, many rejections. He just struck lucky I guess - that and dogged persistence.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Ohio
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    Writing has changed. Works that were published years ago wouldn't stand a chance in today's market.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jena Grace View Post
    Writing has changed. Works that were published years ago wouldn't stand a chance in today's market.
    Oh, I think the reverse. I think there are niches being served and books being published now that never could have been as recently as forty years ago.

    But as far as the OP, if a good doesn't meet the genres the agents'/publishers' deal in (and have the networks to sell in) or that book doesn't fill the hole in their offerings/schedules, it could have the sales potential of the Bible and they would have to turn it down.

    Example Tom Clancy's Hunt for the Red October that almost put the Naval Institute Press out of business because it swamped them, forced them into markets they had no experience in, and encouraged their longstanding authors to publish elsewhere because they weren't getting any attention. They had to sell the book to keep from going under.

    And who in what business guesses right all of the time?

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Oh, I think the reverse. I think there are niches being served and books being published now that never could have been as recently as forty years ago.
    I guess it applies either way.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jena Grace View Post
    I guess it applies either way.
    I don't think so. I think that the number of books being published has burgeoned--even the modes of publishing have expanded--and that there are niches being served that weren't even recognized forty years ago. I know I'm repeating myself, but I'm flabbergasted that anyone would think otherwise.

  8. #8
    Robin Teeter
    Guest
    There's a market for everything. Life is all about taking risks and I'm willing to bet publishing is not much different. Agents are in it [the business of selling] for the money.

  9. #9
    Robin Teeter
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Kessler View Post
    I don't think so. I think that the number of books being published has burgeoned--even the modes of publishing have expanded--and that there are niches being served that weren't even recognized forty years ago. I know I'm repeating myself, but I'm flabbergasted that anyone would think otherwise.
    I agree. There are dozens of genres today that didn't exist ten years ago.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    I'm agreeing with you about the newer books. But many, many books written in last couple hundred years would never get past the slush piles nowadays. MAF gives a good example.

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