Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

Resist The Temptation

STATUS: Blessed quiet day. I only spent an hour on the phone.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? BIGGEST PART OF ME by Ambrosia

It’s rare these days but some editors, especially those acquiring in genre fiction (such as SF&F or romance), will accept submissions directly from authors. When that happens, as a writer, know that you can only send the project to an imprint once.

Why might you ask?

For several reasons actually. First being that editors who take submissions directly log those submissions. So if one editor has passed, it will be on record so that pretty much nixes it for any other editor at that imprint.

But you also can’t resend for a more practical reason of how acquisitions occur at publishing houses. Let’s say a senior editor reads and passes on it. Then the writer sends to a new-ish editor at the same place (thinking they are more hungry to acquire).

Well, even if that newer editor loves it, she’s going to have to get second reads and support to take it to ed. Board. Well, if that senior editor nixed it and then it pops up again, well, it’s going to get shot down again. And on top of that, the newer editor is not going to have very warm feelings toward you for putting her in an awkward position.

So, resist the temptation and if you are submitting directly, make sure you pick the best editor first time around as you really only have the one shot. And of course, good luck.

10 Responses

  1. Stephanie Faris said:

    In the 90s, I was writing romance and I chose to target Harlequin and Silhouette. (At the time they had quite a few fun, romantic comedy-type lines, which was what I wrote.) The tough part was, they were the only two publishers doing what they were doing…and they were owned by the same company. Many authors were saying they were part of the same computer system and if you submitted to Harlequin and were rejected, Silhouette would have access to the files to show as much. Which pinned a writer into writing a 50,000-90,000 word novel that could only be submitted to one place ever.

  2. Christine Ashworth said:

    I have a friend that consistently sends to each editor in the house after being turned down. I tell her it’s not a good idea, but she swears by it.

    I swear I will never do that…and hopefully I’ll get an agent before I’m tempted, lol!


  3. Anonymous said:

    Okay, this is probably a dumb question but I’m asking anyway. Is this not the case if your work is being submitted by an agent? And if not, why isn’t it?

  4. Janice Palko said:

    My critique group has often discussed this matter. This clarifies the situation. Thanks. We also discuss resubmitting after a major revision. What do you advise in that case?

  5. Benoit said:

    I am in the same boat as anonymous and Janice. Of course I am hoping to have an agent and not have to worry about this topic at all but I would also like to know If/ how it is different for an agent and what to do after major revisions.
    stay warm every one

  6. Anonymous said:

    I guess I’m with other people and still not clear on when you can re-submit. For example, about 4 years ago an editor at Harper Collins passed on our manuscript saying she thought it needed too much revision after it was “under consideration” for over a year. There was no mention of re-submitting after revision. It has since been completely revised and that editor has moved on…can we re-submit or is HC now off limits for that manuscript?

    Thanks, PLJ

  7. Sean said:

    If an editor rejects your ms it can also hurt your chances of landing an agent, which is why I’m only querying agents. I guess after awhile, if no agents bite on the query, it can’t hurt to approach an editor. The only question is: how long is “awhile”??

    Thanks for the info, Kristin!

  8. Anonymous said:

    What if an editor of a line rejects the query letter/synopsis, but then another editor from the same line makes a request of the first three chapters after reading the first 25 pages and placing it first in a contest?

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