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RetiredName
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PostSubject: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyMon Jan 05, 2009 7:02 pm

I am linking to hands down the best piece ever written on submissions and the slush pile. It is authored by Theresa Nielsen Hayden, big cheese editor for Tor books and one of the most respected editors in publishing.

Well worth your time.

http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/004641.html
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alj
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PostSubject: Re: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyMon Jan 05, 2009 7:41 pm

Buzz, buzz.

This one has been around a long time, Cturkel.

Ann
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Phil Whitley
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PostSubject: Re: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyMon Jan 05, 2009 8:29 pm

I am pleased to announce that I have NEVER been rejected by Tor books!
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 2:44 am

lol! ... but have you been disemvowelled? I have. Slushkiller 401565

_________________
Slushkiller 41ZdcL0lV7L._SL125_ Slushkiller 41C9GeFDNWL._SL125_ Slushkiller 41%2BmGkZJdOL._SL125_ Slushkiller 51eDGllZXhL._SL125_ Slushkiller 41y7VHKoszL._SL125_ Slushkiller 51Zs4N4T4eL._SL125_
Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ęShelagh Watkins 2017
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Dick Stodghill
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PostSubject: Re: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 5:15 am

All right, tell us more.
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RetiredName
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PostSubject: Re: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 5:55 am

alj wrote:
Buzz, buzz.

This one has been around a long time, Cturkel.

Ann

Sure it has but its worth linking to in any writers' forum.


Last edited by cturkel on Tue Jan 06, 2009 7:29 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Typo. I suck.)
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 7:26 am

The best rejection letter I ever got was from, of all places, Hustler. It's the best in the industry. It's printed to look like an engraved card and basically says like,
"Congratulations, you have been selected to receive this coveted rejection slip from Larry Flynt Enterprises. If you want more of these beautiful cards for your collection, you only need submit more work to Hustler. In the event that we accept your future work we are sorry to say we CANNOT issue another rejection slip and you'll just have to settle for the money."

Hustler, by the way, is one of the most efficient, professional, writer-friendly mags I ever wrote for (no, I never got another coveted rejection slip from them and had to settle for their pretty good money about four times)

Oddly, some of the least work-withable people I ever ran across were at Atlantic, Harpers and similar hightone, snotty Eastern scatopolis rags. Since Paul Tough left Harpers any time I talk to an editor there I want to catch a plane to New York and go kick their supercilious asses. Atlantic is my candidate for cluster-bombing.

Actually the WORST magazine I ever tried to deal with was Writers Digest... they are NOT pro-writer there, neither in their editorial dealings nor in their published product.

The two publications most likely to screw writers financially (and the losers of the two biggest guild settlements ever awarded in the US for exactly that behavior) are -- you're going to love this-- Mother Jones and Daily Worker.
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 7:29 am

My three LEAST favorite rejection slips over my career all say the same thing, to a greater or lesser degree:

Quote :
We LOVED your article. It's exactly the sort of thing we were trying to do around here. But unfortunately we just went out of business.


So, getting nice comments doesn't always help.
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RetiredName
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PostSubject: Re: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 7:37 am

Writers sometimes forget the mantra that if it's good, someone will buy it. That's why you start at the top and work your way down. For fantasy, start with Tor, Daw, Bantam Spectrum then work your way down.

One of my first jobs out of college was working at as editorial intern at Warner, in their sci-fi and fantasy imprint. My primary job was writing catalog copy and taking care of the slush pile.

If you think writers are insane, go through a slush pile. It is a whole other degree of insanity, I mean scary insane. The queries, the MS' I went through were just awlful.

But the best part was that in my eighteen months there, I actually pulled six possible buys from the pile. Of those six, four were ultimately rejected by my senior editor. One was actually published, which rocks, and one we turned down because it was such a niche book we wouldn't be able to market it properly and it wouldn't sell and everyone would be unhappy.

That last book did find a publisher a couple of years later and I encountered the author at a convention. I told him how much I enjoyed his book when it came through the pile and was a little bummed Warner had passed on it.

He thanked me profously. Made my year.
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alj
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PostSubject: Re: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 9:14 am

Quote :
One of my first jobs out of college was working at as editorial intern at Warner, in their sci-fi and fantasy imprint. My primary job was writing catalog copy and taking care of the slush pile.

I thought your writing style seemed familiar. It took a while, since you've changed your name.

Ann
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PostSubject: Re: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 9:28 am

I just changed my user name. I'm still, uh, me.
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 10:13 am

Dick Stodghill wrote:
All right, tell us more.
All comments by shlgh on Making Light:

http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/commentlist-oneauthor.php?author=shlgh&email=shlghwtkns@btntrnt.cm

shlgh is me. All my posts were disemvowelled because I refused to go away:

#688 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2006, 11:07 AM:
Shelagh, by my own rules I would normally ignore what I've seen you do in other online venues, and wait until you'd infracted my rules in my weblog.
Not this time.
Please go away. You're not welcome here.

When she disemvowelled all my posts, I replied:

#699 ::: shlgh ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2006, 04:59 PM:
Trs Nlsn Hydn ::: (vw ll by) ::: Jn 05, 2006, 11:07 M:
"Shlgh, by my wn rls wld nrmlly gnr wht 'v sn y d n thr nln vns, nd wt ntl y'd nfrctd my rls n my wblg.
Nt ths tm.
Pls g wy. Y'r nt wlcm hr."
w, nw y'v gn nd pst my flngs. "Pls rmmbr tht vn hr, th rl s 'rspct yr fllw wrtr.'"

Re-vowelling the last sentence:

Aw, now you've gone and upset my feelings. "Please remember that even here, the rule is 'respect your fellow writer.'"

The quote about respecting fellow writers is taken from the AW forum:
Take It Outside Board
Sometimes we all need a spot to let off steam. Here's the place for controversial subjects, debates, and arguments-- but please remember that even here, the rule is "respect your fellow writer."

#724 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2006, 11:18 AM:
Shlgh, I'm not going to debate with you. I've seen you "debate". You're not good enough. I'd have to prop you up throughout, and I don't see why I should bother.
I know you think you win a lot of arguments. I very strongly suspect that your opponents decide you're not worth their trouble, and just walk away. You ought not mistake that for winning.
We can keep disemvowelling your messages as long as you can keep writing them. However, that's not what's going to happen. If you keep this up, I'll run more severe distortions on your messages. If you still don't stop, I'll delete them.
You can't win here. All you can do is make us marvel at what a slow learner you are.

My reply:
#725 ::: shlgh ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2006, 03:19 AM:
pstd by Trs Nlsn Hydn ::: (vw ll by) ::: June 07, 2006, 11:18 M: "Shlgh, 'm nt gng t db t wth y. 'v s n y "dbt ". Y'r nt gd ngh. 'd hv t prp y p thrght, nd dn't s why shld bthr. kn w y thnk y wn l t f rgmnts. vry strngly sspct tht yr ppnnts dcd y 'r nt wrth thr trbl , nd jst wlk wy. Y ght nt mstk tht fr wnnng. W cn kp dsmvwllng yr mssgs s lng s y cn k p wrtng thm. Hwvr, tht's nt wht's gng t hppn. f y kp ths p, 'll rn mr svr dstrtns n yr mssgs. f y stll dn't stp, 'll dl t thm. Y cn't wn hr . ll y cn d s mk s mrvl t wht slw lrnr y r." Bt 'm fst lrnr Trs. Very Happy

Bt 'm fst lrnr Trs. -- But I'm a fast learner Teresa. Very Happy

_________________
Slushkiller 41ZdcL0lV7L._SL125_ Slushkiller 41C9GeFDNWL._SL125_ Slushkiller 41%2BmGkZJdOL._SL125_ Slushkiller 51eDGllZXhL._SL125_ Slushkiller 41y7VHKoszL._SL125_ Slushkiller 51Zs4N4T4eL._SL125_
Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ęShelagh Watkins 2017


Last edited by Shelagh on Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 12:15 pm

Am I the only one who finds the last couple of posts totally incomprehensible?
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 1:19 pm

lin wrote:
m th nly n wh fnds th last cpl f psts ttlly ncmprhnsbl?
You got the idea lin. Teresa uses a bit of software to run through posts to remove all the vowels to humiliate the writers of those posts.

#699 above is Teresa's post (#698) disemvowelled by me as is #725 (post #724).

As a post-graduate, I did research into expert systems, so these attempts to impress me with clever software failed. Slushkiller 733985

The technique is explained her:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disemvoweling

_________________
Slushkiller 41ZdcL0lV7L._SL125_ Slushkiller 41C9GeFDNWL._SL125_ Slushkiller 41%2BmGkZJdOL._SL125_ Slushkiller 51eDGllZXhL._SL125_ Slushkiller 41y7VHKoszL._SL125_ Slushkiller 51Zs4N4T4eL._SL125_
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I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ęShelagh Watkins 2017
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 4:36 pm

Ah that helps. But this has nothing to do with cturkel, then?
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Carol Troestler
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PostSubject: Re: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 4:50 pm

Lin, Theresa wrote the recommended article.

I got what some have told me was the best rejection they have ever read. This was from a very reputable military publisher.

A shortened version is below:

After a lengthy evaluation, I am sorry to report that we are going to pass on your book. It has nothing to do with the quality of your work but is a matter of marketing prospects. We can only do a limited number of books per year and have to choose carefully, balancing dollar prospects with mission enhancement and a few lesser factors. . .

There was some definite interest in doing your book, but in the end, other manuscripts won out. I know you feel strongly that there is a substantial potential market for this book, but our marketing experts do not see enough potential for us to take on this book in lieu of other more promising prospects.

It is always possible that we are wrong, and in that light I hope you will not be discouraged by this and continue to look for a publisher. . .

I sincerely wish you luck in placing this fine work with a good publisher.
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PostSubject: Re: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 5:05 pm

One needs to realize the article is what counts, not the comments. If you ever work in publishing you'll see everything she says is 100% dead on.
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 6:25 pm

Well, I've been around publishing a bit over the years and I don't see it as being particularly wonderful.

For one thing, I'm not sure what the purpose of it is. For another, what? She's telling writers what to think about rejection slips?

Why?

Correspondence out of agents (and particularly editors) is some of the rudest and most lackadaisical writing in all business. Even Hollywood is less messed-up when it comes to the simple matter of returning mail.

And there is a huge industry of writer-funded, publisher-defensive magazines and sites and stuff telling writers to shut up and like it.
So here's one more. Or whatever it is.

Looking at it this way: is there any sort of constructive message?
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PostSubject: Re: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 7:22 pm

The point of the article is simply this: rejection is not personal and if you get a personal rejection for specific reasons it's the exception, rather than the rule.

Also the point is to inform what it takes to get out of the slushpile and some of the non-obvious reasons for rejection (lack of room on the schedule, no marketing budget, etc).

I can tell you from doing hundreds, if not thousands of rejections, that it is nothing personal. I didn't register any writer as unique. Rejection slips are preprinted in the thousands and put in stacks. Read, decide, put MS and rejection slip in envelope, put it pile to got to mail room. Repeat ad naseum for hours.

The good news is that if your book is accepted, the letter is crafted by the editor aquiring it (usally just after a happy dance of "Look what just came through the pile!" acceptances make any editors day).

Keep writing, polishing, submitting. Wash, rinse and repeat.
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Phil Whitley
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PostSubject: Re: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 7:51 pm

I can just imagine the inter-office "handles" the ones that peruse the
slushpile might use, like DreamKiller and WriterBiter. Laughing

Does the one who finally finds a really good manuscript get a finders fee?
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Carol Troestler
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PostSubject: Re: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 8:28 pm

Well, I guess I'm doing all right. I had several emails from one publisher, another called me on the phone, and the most recent sent back my materials even if I had forgotten the SASE and made some suggestions for publishers.

No contract, no advance, but considering the alternatives this is positive.

But, cturkel, I think we already know what you are telling us. We know it is a business. It is pretty obvious from the publishers I have spoken with. But they have not been rude and have made suggestions and been supportive.

Carol
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Slushkiller   Slushkiller EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 11:00 pm

When I say "constructive" I'm not talking about inhouse editor apologia, I mean, what good does it do writers. Other than, don't take it personal. We kind of figured that.

I don't see anything there telling writers how to avoid rejection, and the things you mention such as scheduling are beyond writer control.

Most writers are aware, to some degree or another, how selection processes work. But don't really care all that much. How to get accepted is of interest.

How to get those jerks to respond when you send them stamps and email addresses would be of interest as well.

You're not hearing what I'm saying. Writers hear enough about how we should do whatever they say and take whatever treatement is given. It's not novel and it's not helpful.

I keep trying to think of a single other field in which the magazines and sites that purportedly serve a group of people consistently take the side of everybody else against their subscriber group.

You don't see Guitar Player telling pickers to just shut up and like whatever abuses they get from club owners or managers. You don't see automobile mags telling driver they need to just stop making so much noise and driving around so much.

I get a little sick of it. Lame queries aren't a problem. It just makes it easier to sort them out. But rude rejections or lack of response is unbusinesslike and rude and nobody will cop to it.

And I don't think it's irrelevant, by the way, that the writer of that thread would do s stunt like making gibbberish out of what people write. That's kind of disrespectful to the writer, wouldn't you say. It shows an attitude. And it's an attitude that sucks. I don't want to hear any more of what the bitch has to say, frankly.
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