On July 27, 2007, at 9:23 PM, Editor, Advising said as a comment on this blog...
"....I got mad this week, and I knew exactly where to come to vent. I am posting this for you, WR, both because I think you need to hear it and because I trust that you will repost it so that everyone can partake in some intelligent discussion based on what I say.
Do you want to know why I got mad this week? Because the submission piles on my desk have become so completely out of control that I am being buried alive. I'm not sure if you understand exactly how much editors and agents actually have to read on a day to day basis. You know how much I took home to read this weekend? Almost 900 pages. And my desk looks like a small bomb went off. Last weekend, a large part of the English-speaking world (and probably other countries too) locked themselves away to read 700-something pages of Harry Potter. I lock myself away MOST weekends to read the same amount (or more) of material. Some of it is good, most of it is sheer CRAP!I barely read real books anymore. I don't have time. Most of my free time is spent reading submissions, or the books that is publishing. When I do make time to read an already-published book, I am usually reading a comparison title for a book I am editing or hope to edit. I pray for the moments when I have time to read something that has nothing to do with work.And yet, I love my job. I really do. And I do what I do because I wouldn't have it any other way. But before you post your next rejection letter, I want you to think long and hard about the other side of things. Rejections aren't personal. They are business. They don't always mean you're not good enough (although sometimes they do) and if you always take your rejections that way, it is going to turn you into a very bitter writer (if it hasn't already).
The next time you post a rejection letter, remember what we editors and agents go through. Because it's not always pleasant for us either, and we're sorry we can't always send the most perfect rejection letter, but we have neither the time nor the energy to stroke everyone's ego equally. I've begun a process where I am going to go through everything on my desk and if it is good or has merit in some way, put it aside for more reading but if it is not good or won't work for us, I am rejecting very quickly. No more pleasant letters, no more worrying about encouraging things to say to the authors. Because apparently you and your ilk don't appreciate them anyway and I am inundated.
You make me angry, WR. Not because I don't understand what you are trying to do, but because I don't agree with it. You have a severely limited view of what goes on in the publishing industry and you are taking your bitterness and anger out on the people who are actually nice enough to get back to you in some way. You're lucky -- some days I just want to take half of my pile and throw it in the garbage. But I wouldn't do that. I'd rather send a quickly written rejection letter with some reasons why it didn't work for me than leave the person hanging for a response that will never come.
Be glad you receive rejection letters -- it's the sign that you are a true writer in this businessand the feedback you are receiving is like free advice from the professionals at the heart of the industry. Now if you'll excuse me, I am going to start reading a pile that feels like the Bible and Merriam-Webster combined. But I'll be eagerly checking back to see when and if a heated discussion begins."
Yowzer. Where to start? Have at it, bloggers.