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January 03, 2007

Comments

Jason Pinter

Editors do trust their gut, and tend to only bring books to edit boards that they either think people will buy, or that they're incredibly passionate about (and on some joyous days those books are one in the same).

Nothing kills a book faster in an edit meeting than an apathetic editor. And it's false to say editors are "given a budget." Most editors have an idea of how many books they're expected to edit/acquire per year, but with the exception of those running imprints they do not have a "budget."

And if a book makes us laugh, cry, or think, you can bet we're going to push for it. But the average editor gets at least 15-20 agented submissions every week during the busy season, and well over 500 each year, and it's naive to think that each of those 500 is special in that regard.

Being published is a privilege not a right, and there's a vast chasm between "good effort" and "truly special."

The fact is I'd LOVE for every submission I get to knock my socks off, but it's just not the case. Life is too short to carelessly reject books you truly love.

Josie Brown, author, IMPOSSIBLY TONGUE-TIED

Thanks, Jason, for giving an editor's POV to this topic, which is always first and foremost on an author's mind. I happily stand corrected.

Before writing this, I queried authors as to what if any kinds of rejections they had gotten lately, specifically on projects that had received strong enthusiasm from their agents. Two prolific published writers mentioned incidents in which they were passed rejection letters from their agents that were filled with glowing or enthusiastic remarks, followed by "...But I'll have to take a pass."

Is the editor just being polite, or trying to be diplomatic in order to stay on the agent's list?

Both writers, who feel very close to their agents, were told that there is some fence-sitting going on as of late. Perhaps it's the time of year in which the submissions were made. Or maybe there is a slowdown in their respective genres. Or maybe returns are a scare factor. You, and others on the editorial side of the fence, could certainly enlighten the rest of us as to the variables that go into the rejection process. Thanks for doing so.

Justin R. Buchbinder

Great post, and fantastic points!

I'm linking to this as we speak.

Lynn Robinson

Hey - I love the idea of Trust Your Gut for 2007!

Lynn Robinson
author of "Trust Your Gut: How the Power of Intuition Can Grow Your Business" ;-)

The comments to this entry are closed.

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