2.17.2004

When NOT To Be Polite

It is a given that editors are busy people, much busier than you or I could ever be. Well, maybe not busier than you, but certainly busier than me. The stereotype of wizards hunched over ancient tomes alone in their towers, turning offenders into frogs or cinders? That first wizard was an editor.

These are good, kind people, but they are very busy making books, so please do not disturb, we will get in touch with you, thank you very much.

After the MoP Open Call, I was invited to submit an idea for another project. The heavens opened up and I heard the clarion call of trumpets.

I fired off an idea that night to the Editor and diligently got down to writing. My fingertips were on fire. The story came together great, the plot made sense, and there was even a touch of social criticism! Hotdamn, I was feeling good.

Patiently I waited.

And waited.

I thought about writing the Editor and asking if/when to expect a response. Bad idea.

I thought about writing the Author and asking her if I should write the Editor asking if/when to expect a response. Bad idea.

I composed two letters to the Author asking if I should write the Editor asking
if/when to expect a response. I deleted them both. Good idea.

Finally I broke down and decided that if I was going to bother a professional, there was no sense in bugging two of them. I bit the bullet and wrote the Editor.

He wrote back the very same day. He never got my pitch (it was now 2-3 weeks after the deadline). Email trouble. He was exceedingly polite and courteous. He offered to read the pitch again, and consider it, if it looked like there was room.

The heavens opened up. The clarion call of trumpets. Mountains moved, the seas parted. This much power should never rest in any one person's hand.

I resubmited the synopsis, got the green light, which brings us to the present. I should hear back if they want to buy the actual story this week or the next.

The lesson I have gleaned from this:

Don't bother editors. Their offices are overworked and understaffed.

Do ask for replies on email submissions, so that you won't have to bother editors, as their offices are overworked and understaffed.

When I finally relayed the above story to the Author, she gave it her customary neat synopsis, which I will render here for the benefit of all:

"As you've no doubt surmised, it's probably a good idea to ask for a return
receipt when you email a proposal or submission to any editor. Yes, they
are overworked and overscheduled, and things do tend to fall through the
cracks. There's no guarantee that they won't lose it AFTER they receive it,
but at least you'll have given it the best shot you can."


Amen.

Writing: Yes. Time for a new project, and maybe it will distract me from worrying about the Wizards proposals ... nah.
Skating:You got it. Tuesday volunteer madness!
Today's Soundtrack: A movie quote, which keeps looping through my head. It is dedicated to the deserving soul that earns that F/W book. You have no idea how much I'll envy you, but it will be a good sort of envy, the kind that makes me work harder. Anyhow, to the quote. I'm such a dork I'll probably be mumbling this to myself when I sell that first book.

Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered,
I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City,
for my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is great.
You have no power over me.

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