Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Friday, April 08, 2005

Top 7 Reasons Publishers Take So Long to Reply

Waiting. It's one of the banes of the writing life. THE WAITING!!! You wait while you try to FINISH something. You wait while you try to find a home for your work. Your friends wait for it to get published. But the worst waiting of all is when you have to wait and wait and wait and WAIT until you finally, miraculously get a response to your submission. You tear open that envelope or anxiously click on the E-mail and dance with rapture over your acceptance or scream, cry, gnash your teeth and pull your hair out over the rejection. I mean, you WAITED ALL THAT TIME just to be told, "No, thanks." Or, "Not for us." Or, "Get lost, hack. Don't write to me anymore."

I recently had an article accepted this week. And of course while I was delighted with this news, there was one thing: I'd forgotten which article it was I'd submitted! The editor refreshed my memory but this is just proof that sometimes it will take SO FREAKING LONG to get a reply that we forget just WHAT it was we'd sent in! This has happened before and sometimes I'll hear from someone after waiting MONTHS and I don't even remember why I contacted them in the first place.

This week included Day 120 since I'd submitted my novel to a publishing company. Today is Day 121. Yes, I'm counting. Actually, that came after reading the publishing company's response time is 90-120 days, so naturally I started rifling through the rest of my calendar pages to see when Day 120 would be. And I have been told that they are still considering the manuscript and that sometimes it takes longer than 120 days to reply. More WAITING. Ack!

I have heard before that the wait really shouldn't be so long. I mean, according to this thinking, if they love it and want it, they will know right away. They will know after reading the very first sentence. Or was it the first page? Can't remember that exact quote but I do know it talked about how editors KNOW from the start if they're going to accept a book or not. And now here we are, at Day 121. I know my book is long, but, c'mon! This. Cannot. Be. Good.

OK, I know. I have to be optimistic. I have to think POSITIVELY. And, YES, to any authors reading this, I am working on other books and projects. I've got my eye on other things, but the other eye is ALWAYS on this one. At least until I finally hear back whether or not they've accepted it.

So, to pass the time away, I have created a short list of the 7 reasons why publishers take so long to respond to submissions. This is only written in fun, mind you. It is NOT intended to whine, complain or to imply that these reasons are the REAL reasons why editors take so long. It's all just meant in fun:

7 Reasons Publishing Houses Take so Long to Reply to Submissions

1. The mail carrier did a song and dance skit and got thrown out before he had a chance to deliver your manuscript. (They’re not letting him back in, either.)
2. The envelope plays the song “hugs are good, thugs are bad” so now NOBODY wants to open it.
3. The very first sentence on the very first page shocked them by your brilliance and they’re too euphoric to come back to earth and read the rest.
4. The e-mail server they receive manuscripts at is Hotmail.
5. Or AOL.
6. A crazy intern thought it would be “funny” if he switched all of the unread manuscripts on the editor’s desk with his own unedited and unread trunk books.
7. Because the submitting author has a Web site that includes, among other things, “anyone rejecting my work shall face the wrath of the Unholy Purple Dogman!” and they’re still trying to get someone to draw the final straw.


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