Saturday, November 20, 2010

Why manuscripts are rejected

Two editors say why they decline certain manuscripts. Both are entertaining reads, as well as providing insights into the process of acceptance.

Don D’Auria’s article is called What was he thinking? and explains why some manuscripts are turned down even if they’re very good (an editor’s inventory isn’t inexhaustible).

One of the most painful for me is simply bad timing, where I really love a book but I just bought a book with a very similar plot. It happens and it kills me. And I know it isn’t easy for the author either, because it isn’t his or her fault.

Yes, the “he” in the title refers to the editor, and what writers might say on being turned down.

The next article, though, is about mistakes in pacing that sabotage stories. It’s by Samhain editor Deborah Nemeth, and lists several problems that make a manuscript an “empty tank”, a “premature ejaculator” and so on. My favorite is the “pack animal”.

The pack animal likes to hang out in caravans. It’s a sequel that collapses under the weight of the previous volumes in the series. Crammed with summaries of the action and characters from past episodes, it forgets that nothing interesting is happening in this one…and if it is, readers are too distracted by the baggage to notice.


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gypsyscarlett said...

Thanks so much for those links, Marian.

Volataire said...

It's very sad every time someone pours a lot of effort into a piece of literature, and in the end it gets rejected. It truly is unfair. I've already read through those links, and they're very insightful. Thank you for posting them.

Maria Zannini said...

Deb is my editor at Carina and is absolutely wonderful. I can't believe how lucky I was to get her.

Thanks for the links.

Marian Perera said...

Tasha - you're welcome! I like D'Auria's reasoned explanation of the process behind buying a manuscript.

Volataire - Good to hear you found the links helpful. :)

Maria - Yes, she sounds direct and knowledgeable. Glad you're enjoying the experience!