Wednesday, February 29, 2012

FB Us, If You Please

They do not use articles at Foundling Review, do they?
Writer - "Title of Story" was close; we have finally decided to pass this time. Foundling Review editors are glad that you considered us as a potential market for your work. We ask that you please wait at least a month before re-submitting. Regards, Assoc. Editor, Foundling Review NOTE: We're on Facebook; do take the time to connect.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Back From Vacation

Hello, small endearing rodents. I am back in my own time zone. And though groggy from the red-eye, my paid work writing is piled up and waiting. Conference calls blazing, projects raging, etc. You get the picture. However, nothing similar has occurred in my creative endeavors. There was a phone call with a lovely editor just 3 weeks ago, I swear, that was the equivalent of a fireworks spectacular. I swear a victorious theme song was playing as he and I discussed my book proposal and its social impact. The editor said he wouldn't need much time to get an official offer together, just speak to one person. We cheered and were happy.  We got off the phone and did little happy dances, each in our separate offices. And then...fizzle, fizzle, pff, people.  Nothing. At first Secret Agent Man was going on "No news is good news," which after week two passed in silence abruptly switched to "No news news." Maybe something happened to my friend the editor, which I pray not, but it is odd. I hope his family is well. I hope he is well. I also hope he doesn't go the way of all my literary luck and simply disappear.  Don't laugh; it's happened before. So, we sit and wait because that's what we do. Actually, as soon as I get my client deadlines under control, I'm just going to start writing the book. Fuck it, I say. It's going to be a marketable book, a good book. If an excerpt in the New York Times isn't enough to convince these book people, then nothing will, unless I somehow become a famous person, which isn't likely now, is it?  I will just have to do it while I am juggling my paid writing work, which will not be easy, but it will be familiar. Forward march, says I! And to intentionally mix a metaphor, it's time to fly.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Soul Searching Rejection

I like this rejection. It's like at McSweeney's they tried really hard to find a place for your beautiful work, but they just couldn't quite find the perfect spot for it.  And whilst this is probably not exactly representative of their process of rejecting, I think it is a classy no-blame way to accomplish the task:
Dear [First name Last name]: Thank you for sending us "Title of piece". We rely on submissions like yours since a good portion of what we publish comes to us unsolicited. Unfortunately, we can't find a place for this piece in our next few issues. But please feel free to submit again in the future as our tastes and needs continuously change. Thanks again for your efforts and letting us see your work. Sincerely, Chelsea Hogue, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Stone Boat is a Bad Idea

I'm on the west coast this and last week, so posting has been a little spotty.  I'm on vacation and trying to read everything in sight that might help prepare me to write my book when the book editor remerges to say he wants to buy my proposal. Here's a rejection to tide you over:
Dear [First name with typo]:
The editors of Stoneboat have read your work and, after careful consideration, have decided that it isn’t right for our journal at this time. We regret that we are unable to offer personalized feedback, but it isn’t possible due to the volume of submissions we receive. We wish you luck in placing your work elsewhere and hope you will consider submitting to us again.
Sincerely, The Editors

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day, Rosemary Ahern

Today, on this day of massacres and love, we must continue to be patient while entire teams of editors, publishers and publicists fall back into one another's arms to build trust and cooperation in the enterprise of book making. Which is to say, alas, those who may buy my book are on a retreat this week, so all business, like offers and bids, are on hold. My horoscope said there would be delays, and there are! Anyhoo, maybe I will be spending next Valentine's Day with Rosemary Ahern reading my manuscript by candlelight and laughing over my adorable dangling modifiers.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Regarding Your Blood and Guts

Hmmm....well, same as yesterday, today the future is still yet to be written. There are a couple of editors who are interested but who haven't responded to the herding call yet. I guess it takes some time to get an offer together. So, as usual, you set the rules, and when no one plays by them, you then set them again, which is to say that the rules belong to the other players, and you just sit and wait politely. Tap, tap, tap....nothing. So, we wait some more. In the meantime, I ask you to consider this rejection (and to cross your fingers for me too):
Thank you for considering Muscle and Blood a potential home for your fiction. Unfortunately, we have decided to pass on your story. Discussion led us to believe that your work may benefit from a re-draft, specifically focused on the ending. Please feel free to submit other work in the future, and we wish you the best of luck with your writing. Regards, Christopher Przewloka

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Reading Your No-Luck Future

I like the idea that editors are "reading art" when they read our work. It seems less insulting if they don't like the art that way. I'm not sure why. Probably only because I'm not a painter.
Thank you for the privilege of reading your art. We've considered it carefully, but I'm sorry to report we have decided not to accept it for publication. We do want to wish you luck in placing it elsewhere, and bode you success with all your writing endeavors. Best, Brad Felver, Fiction Editor, Mid-American Review
Speaking of futures, today is the day Secret Agent Man herds in the cats and we find out who is going to make a bid on my book proposal(s). It is a special day, but let's not forget what skittish cats these are. Will we have a deal or no deal? Book or no book? The future is not yet written, which is always kind of an exciting moment because that means the problems have not yet arrived. I can believe whatever I want to believe, which is that one of these felines is going to see the value in said proposed book.  But mice, you know how cats are, so cross yourselves for me and pray that the catnip is strong this seasons. (p.s. Remember Agent 99? Wonder how she's doing?)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Do Not Look

It's not that the story wasn't right for the journal; it simply wasn't right for any of the upcoming issues the editor had in mind. Plus a few compliments: well written, interesting and original. Add an expectation of reading more work in the future with a casual first-name signature indicating that we are all good friends in the enterprise. The writer can feel pretty happy about this successful rejection, a sweet oxymoron. Got to love those Parisians:
Dear [first name of writer]: Thanks for your submission to Do Not Look at the Sun. I enjoyed reading your short story, 'Title', though unfortunately felt that it was not the right fit for any of the forthcoming issues that I have in mind. Thank you for the opportunity to read it; it is very well written and an interesting and original piece of fiction. I wish you well with submitting it elsewhere and I look forward to reading more submissions from you in the future. Kind regards, Anthony

Monday, February 6, 2012

What's the MacGuffin

I had a writing teacher once (undergraduate program, as you know I never got an MFA) who spoke lovingly of mcguffins during our workshops. It wasn't until years later that I understood the origin of the word. Same with a second undergraduate writing professor who used to say, "You have to kill your darlings;" I didn't know he was loosely rephrasing a famous quote. Someone sent this rejection in for publishing here at LROD:
Thank you for submitting “Title” to The MacGuffin. Although we are unable to publish your work at this time, we thank you for the opportunity to review it.The MacGuffin has a thorough and vigorous reading process. With the large number of submissions we receive, the editorial process can be quite lengthy. Please know that your work is important to us and has been given careful consideration.We appreciate your interest in The MacGuffin and hope you will submit again. We wish you all the best in your writing endeavors. Sincerely,Elizabeth Kircos, Fiction/Non-Fiction Editor, The MacGuffin

Friday, February 3, 2012

Time to Fill You In

All right, peeps. Here's the scoop. I've written and sent out my book proposal via Secret Agent Man, who it turns out took me up on THIS OFFER. A few people said no, but a few are interested. Because I was writing a kind of hybrid book: one company is interested in one half of the book, and another is interested in the another half of the book.  Why not do two books? I asked. But my agents says that's not contractually kosher. So we are where we are.    
     I have written another version of the book proposal in these weeks, which would lean more heavily on memoir. That would be swell with me, but I do still think memoir+information will make for a bigger book on the topic. So, we'll see. There are a few other editors who are getting second and third reads of the proposals inside their publishing houses, so more may be forthcoming.
     Publishing is much slower and more considered than it was back in the day when people pounced and bought. But I'm happy to be in this position at long last.  Remember the days when I banged my head against the wall trying to get my wonderful literary novel published?  Remember how close I came at Grove and Ballantine with fiction, only to be dashed at the last minute? Ah, those were the bloody days.This seems more civilized, though I am not without the thought that hope-dashing could still happen.  So, stand by, and we shall see.  
      Feel free to write in with thoughts on the process, or to tell me that I should stick to my guns about what kind of book I'm writing, though frankly either one is fine by me. There's more than one way to skin the cat.
     By the way, those of you who read the article, my one major family's response was that there were not THAT many guns in the house when we grew up. (!) Seriously? On a visit home, I once had to remove several rifles from the bed I was going to sleep in and step over a pile of other rifles in boxes stacked in the room.  Hmmm? That seems like a lot of guns to me. But this is why I write, right?  Because my family does not offer comments like, "Oh, that must have been painful." Or "You write well." Or....I don't know, say, anything other than a comment about how many guns we had in the house, which by the way, was a lot.
     Oh well. It makes a good blog post even if I have said "we shall see" too many times. (But we shall.)

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I don't like that whole publishing "cheers!" thing, which reminds me of "alas," like we need a shorthand for their chipper or remorseful emotions, but I do like this guy's style. It's always nice to say something positive, just like Mother taught us. Rejection sent in from an LROD reader:
We enjoyed reading your work, but "Title" is not quite the right fit for Fiddleblack, so we'll have to pass. Nice rhythm in your voice, though. Thanks for thinking of us as a possible publisher of your work, and best of luck with this piece. Cheers.
Jason Cook, Founding Editor | Fiddleblack ltd
(216) 200-8040 ·

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sign Your Name, Sirs

Have some respect for the dying art of the paper rejection, please.  Is it too difficult to put your name to paper?  Ah, I'm just yanking your chain. It really doesn't matter, does it?