Re: RE: Shabby Treatment

Home Forums Writer’s Digest Forum Take it Outside! Shabby Treatment Re: RE: Shabby Treatment



Elibet – 2007-07-18 11:45 AM

For me, I learned shortly after I started writing that the publishing houses couldn’t get back to me for months. So, rather than be a victim to the state of the industry, ever-increasing slush piles, I decided that I would not just send my work to one publisher, but to as many as I thought it suitable. I do inform them that it is a similtanious submission and let them take it from there. So far, I’m happy with the response times. I don’t feel I’m wasting my life waiting for one manuscript to come back so I can send it to someone else.

Now, see, everything I’ve read or been told about simultaneous submissions is that it is a giant no-no. I’ve never understood why this should be, to be honest, but I’m very glad to read that it has worked for you. I’ll most likely go this route, then, when it’s time for me to do so. Not being able to make simultaneous submissions was what got me started in the whole rant to begin with.

James, I don’t recall mentioning once that I would be sitting around on my thumbs waiting for a response from an agent or a publisher. I wish somebody would hurry up and invent the 30-hour day, cuz I have so much going on right now, I could sure use the extra six hours. As it is I make time to write.

I know you know a lot about the publishing business. I know you’re an expert in this field. But I’m not exactly inexperienced. I worked closely with my publisher through the last four editions of my non-fiction book, from layout design to marketing. Go to and search on “McBroom’s”. Within its niche, it has been a dominant publication. Maybe not a “bestseller” (hell, I don’t even know what that means anymore), but it’s sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 40,000 copies over the years. The last edition is way out of date now, however, and there will not be another edition because the market has changed so radically that there really isn’t much point in it anymore. Not with the searchability the Internet provides and online marketplaces like eBay. But not going through with another edition was my decision. Not, incidentally, my publisher’s.

When I started out with my publisher, a very likable fellow by the name of Craig Alesse, he was basically not much more than an author with an idea to start his own small press. My book was one of his first titles. His business has grown steadily over the years and has adapted well to changes in the market. But I was there at the beginning — I helped him build his business in the early days. So, you see, I’ve been there. I helped get it done.

But you know, I don’t want to have to do this. Even though my personal time might not be wasted, assuming I find a publisher, the time that passes while the book is not on the market is being wasted. There is no way to make up for lost time. Once it’s gone, that’s it. It’s not ever coming back. So anything I can do to reduce the “lag time” between submission and publication, I feel I must do. But it seems like the decision makers in the business are not as concerned about this. Especially when I read Noah Lukeman. I’m glad I bought his book, The First Five Pages because now I know how some of those guys are. To me, the only things new and worthwhile I read in that book were contained in, guess what? The first five pages.