YOU KIDDING ME? The publishing industries insane demand reeks of ‘huh?

By Juan Pablo Cain

Contributor to WERZOMBIES PRESS

Before introducing you to the works of Juan, we at the PRESS must first give readers an introduction of sorts….

Many of you probably know him by his real name…or is it? Juan approached us earlier in the week and asked to be a part of a forum that appears to allow writers a platform to speak out on all things entertainment, politics, and news.

Wow, does Juan really have a want to say things. A lot of things.

We here at the PRESS don’t even know if Juan is his real name or if the name he uses in various blogging, Facebook (Twatter) circles, is even the real one.

All we know is…he is a watcher. We also know…he (or is it she?) can write. Do we agree with everything Juan stands for? Enough to allow it to print on these pages. Let us know what you think…

Now….here is Juan…

SILLYVILLE, Pubco – OH MY GOD, are you kidding me?

Now before I begin, I must preface this by saying immediately: Not all publishing companies have the following attitudes, especially smaller presses. Many companies ‘get it’ so please use this for only those who qualify under this argument. Thanks, k?

So, check this out…especially you new and yes, even veteran authors.

What is the deal with no simultaneous submissions?

I mean OMG!

Okay, let me explain before I review.

When an author first starts seeking that one publishing company he/she immediately has to make a decision of which ones sound like they would even be interested in reading your manuscript.

You find one and come across this little bit of protocol when it comes to an initial, unsolicited, submission:

No simultaneous submissions

Say what?

For those who don’t know what this means it simply means this: YOU ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO SUBMIT YOUR MANUSCRIPT TO OUR COMPANY AT THIS TIME! YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO SUBMIT TO OTHERS AND WE ALONE SHOULD BE IN POSSESSION OF YOUR MANUSCRIPT! IF WE FIND OUT OTHER COMPANIES HAVE IT, WE WILL PROBABLY NOT BE INTERESTED OR TAUNT YOU A LOT AND FLICK BOOGERS AT YOU!

So.

What they are telling you is something unprecedented. They are telling you, the hard-working writer with something potentially marketable, this actual message.

YOU SEE, WE EXPECT YOU TO PUT YOUR LIFE ON HOLD. IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU ARE UNEMPLOYED OR NEED SOME EXTRA INCOME OR QUITE FRANKLY HAVE A WINNER. YOU ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO BASICALLY APPLY FOR A JOB WITH US. THAT’S IT! SO NOW WAIT UNTIL WE MAKE A DECISION!

So.

They are telling you, what no other industry does: your life is in their hands and you will either wait on their terms or they may basically tell you to piss yourself.

EXCUSE US?

In normal parlance that would mean any of us out there looking for a job would ultimately have to wait weeks, months, to apply for employment a second time?

WTF?

OMG! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

How many people reading this actually applied for jobs one-at-a-time? Yeah, you submitted that application to be a bagger at SAFEWAY and then waited anxiously gripping your cell phone for weeks on end as your bills went unpaid!

Even the music industry doesn’t tell  artists they can only submit a demo one at a time. Doctors get jobs after applying for positions at multiple locations. Lawyers. Teachers. Police Officers. Firemen.

Dudes, you are a publishing company. GET OVER YOURSELVES.

The reason? Well they don’t want to go to all the hassle of reading a 600-page manuscript, to end up loving it, to end up contacting you, to end up finding out you signed with another company. It’s a waste of time and resources.

Response?

Tough shat.

Here are some suggestions for ya:

  1. Maybe find people who CAN READ A LITTLE BIT FASTER!
  2. Maybe hire a few more people to actually WORK!
  3. Maybe you could be polite and email those writers back who wait months for no reply and actually listen to your stupid demand. Maybe you could tell them, “Hi Molly. We received your MS but we are in the middle of reading about a dozen stories right now, so we may take a while, please bear with us.” That bit of politeness could go a long way.

But let’s be honest…it’s all big shot bullshit from certain companies who haven’t gotten the memo:

TIMES ARE TOUGH FOR EVERYONE, so unless you EXPIDITE your process who the HECK do you think you ARE to make people WAIT for you???

What makes  it even funnier is this:

  1. They usually know if they will read you at the QUERY letter. So their alleged long list? Probably not so long. Oh, and once they read the Query, respond immediately once you don’t have interest, k? Some have done so, and I have a LOT of respect for them.
  2. The best part of this argument to diffuse their logic? Most of these companies only ask for one, two, maybe three chapters, at MOST. What the hell is that? 20K-30K words, max? Maybe. Don’t forget that one page synopsis and biography. LORD. Most people who should be educated enough to even be hired as a reader or alas a freaking publisher can read 60 words a minute. That equals 3,600 words an hour. THIS IS A FULL TIME JOB FOR THESE PEOPLE. So at maximum they should be able to read most submissions within 2-3 days and have an answer quickly. Even if they have a log of 30 books they are interested in? Okay, if you have just three people working it that means a max of a month. What the heck is 8-10 weeks?  Also, please, you guys and I also know you can read the first 5K words and by then half your pile is in the garbage. You know it. We know it.

Look, I get that the publishers of our world have a tough job. No doubt.

Now, if you get a submission and then get all geeked up all over one then we, the authors, should be more compliant. If you read those first 10K words and are really wanting more? Well then if you respectfully tell the author: “Hey could you PLEASE send us the rest of your manuscript? We really like what we have read so far and are seriously considering your novel? But if you do send it to use, please do not submit it to anyone else for the next week or so. We only have one editor and it will take him a a week to 10 days to process the work. We thank you for your cooperation.”

NOW THAT WE SHOULD RESPECT. I equate this to a second stage of interviewing. Would you take a call from IBM while in the middle of interviewing with Microsoft after they have flown you in to wine and dine you? See, that type of request makes sense.

But making initial submissions? Nah.

It is also evident that traddies are losing the war against self-publishing. More and more reputed authors are considering going that route or already have. The royalties are so-so and in many cases your marketing push leaves it in the hands of the authors themselves so why not fully go DIY?

So…OMG…get with the program.

It’s time to wipe NO SIMULTANEOUS SUBMISSIONS out of the initial, unsolicited, submission language forever. There is no place for it and it is in essence, draconian.

I do wish all publishers luck with their endeavors and their goals for artistic and financial successes.

Just don’t hold it against the writers who pursue those same successes.

OMG! Was that so hard?

 

WERZOMBIES Press thanks you for taking the time to read this column/article. The Press is an Alan Dale creation and is inspired by his DEAD NATIONS’ ARMY (DNA) book trilogy which launches in July with his first novel, “Code Flesh.” The Press hopes you consider subscribing to the site and look forward to more interviews, news features, columns, and many more in the future. Once again, thank you for joining us here at the Press!

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23 responses to “YOU KIDDING ME? The publishing industries insane demand reeks of ‘huh?

  1. Since you asked….
    Unfortunately, Juan doesn’t know how to write, at least not professionally, and frankly, Juan/Juanette’s views are a bit skewed. When shopping a ms., a writer’s not applying for a job, they’re looking to find a home for a singular product. Is the wait time a burden? Sure. But it’s also a pretty old gripe and not all that relevant to today’s market. Juan/Juanette might as well be writing a post about how tough it is to find an agent.

    A business has a right to conduct their submission process as they see fit. If an author doesn’t like it, they can go somewhere else, or publish on their own. If a publisher finds that because of a flawed submission process they’re losing money and/or quality titles, they might make an adjustment.

    Instead of griping about how hard it is to get published, one would be better off writing better stories, increasing their number of titles, and always making sure they have a number of manuscripts submitted to multiple markets.

    • I think Rob, you have some salient points.
      But the fact you start by ripping Juan’s ability to write shows you took it a bit personally.
      We have received multiple emails and IMs saying how good the writing was.
      Yet, you do make good points about how a business is run and how they choose to do so.
      I think too that Juan didn’t argue your point about writing better by noting he/she should just be given a respectable opportunity to submit where they choose without penalty.
      Frankly, a lot of outstanding authors who have gone TRADITIONAL do not believe in this concept as well.
      We appreciate your input and never hesitate to add more!

  2. Since you asked….

    Unfortunately, Juan/Juanette can’t seem to write, at least not professionally. The errors in this person’s post are too numerous to enumerate. Poor writing aside, the gripe’s not even relevant, not given today’s market, and publishing opportunities.

    A publisher has every right to handle their submission process as they see fit. If a writer doesn’t like it, ’cause, after all, getting published is so darn hard, anyway, then they can go somewhere else.

    Rather than complain about the challenges of getting published, a writer would do better to write quality stories, build up their number of titles, and make sure they have multiple manuscripts submitted to multiple markets.

    Complaining about publishers not accepting simultaneous submissions is akin to proclaiming to the world that one’s an amateur.

    The smartest thing this poster did was to write under a pseudonym.

    R.M.M.

    • Honestly I don’t even know if its a pen name or not….
      From a journalistic side (and we do have the chops there) we believe the writing was solid for this type of forum.
      Out of curiosity do you say that because he/she/it should cover up their name in fear publishing companies will blackball him? Or just because you think he/she/it sucks and may not get noticed? lol…
      thanks Rob!

  3. As far as the amateur statement, we beg to differ.
    That’s like saying that every writer who AGREES with the policy and gets traditionally published is automatically credible.
    This is far from true. I am sure you (publisher? author? or both) can attest to some horrible writing, fundamentally, or in story telling, by even some recent big hits.
    So that statement alone debunks part of your argument.
    But you do have some valid suggestions! Thanks!

  4. Hi um…stop calling me an “it” k?
    Secondly, why does RMM
    1. Start by attacking my writing ability? What does that have to do with anything I wrote here?
    2. Sound like a lemming? He really offers no real legitimate reason to defend these policies. All he says basically is, “well golly gee that’s the way it is.”
    OMG! Grow a spine.
    3. You are not someone I have ever heard of so you may want to consider a little humility yourself….k?
    Like the Press said….you do make SOME points…but not enough….
    thanks….
    STOP CALLING ME AN IT!!!
    Sorry if my anonymity is a pain,,,but as we saw above one can’t be too careful since it sounds like I was already being threatened!

  5. The comments by Rob and Robthepen are, I surmise, from the same person, and I would have to agree Press, a nerve was hit. Whether or not Juan had perfect syntax, all commas lined up, and no grammatical faux pas, the point made was valid as was yours, Rob. Clients will make the choice appropriate for their situation.

    • We know Paula…We kind of took it like he was ripping our ability to edit? Um, we don’t rip authors in public for their inability to write (unless they are writers of Twilight and the Hunger Games) and we certainly don’t rip on other people for something we are less qualified for. Authors without journalism backgrounds telling journalists how things SHOULD be…well…you finish that sentence. ANYWAY, Rob made some general points but like Juan said…he never gave a RATIONAL for these rules and just seems to justify them by saying “just because….”

  6. Love the picture on this article. As one who sits on the throne of bad edits in my original work, I forgive all edits, every day… and yeah, this industry is difficult at times. It’s nice to hear differing opinions. The bottom line for me is that those running this industry have historically screwed the authors. That’s been the rules. Authors need to find what works for them, and currently, the easiest way is to self publish. Though there are books out there that are not the best, I think the best ones will eventually shine on their own, no matter how they’re published. Folks need to go for the gusto. Find what works for them and just do it. I’d never put my future in the hands of another, after reading about how some of the greats were rejected dozens of times and nearly gave up. Self publish. That’s my advice.

  7. Besides, it’s increasingly becoming the norm that if a self published book is marketed well and selling, publishing companies approach them. Keep writing. Get your work out there. That’s the ticket.

  8. So here is my issue with this post. It appears the person writing it has absolutely no experience working in the publishing industry. As an author and publisher (who DOES NOT) publish his own stuff, we do not allow multiple submissions.

    Its kind of a “submit your best work to us and see what happens.” We are a small press, but a busy one. Multiple people submit to us weekly, and the last thing a press needs is one person (who may not be a good writer) bombarding your inbox with multiple subs. Read faster? No, how about you demand companies take the time to actually read your MS and not speed through it. Because if they do that, then I can guarantee you they will speed through everything else.

    I’m not attacking the writing of this article, but it comes off both attacking and ignorant of the subject matter. I could literally write an article right now debunking every silly claim the “author” has made.

    Something to consider when you have guest writers for your blog. Otherwise, good stuff, and regardless, it gets people reading and talking about it.

    • Hi MCS…I don’t the issue is MULTIPLE but SIMULTANEOUS. I actually spoke with Juan about the difference. We both agree with YOU that one should be selective and submit one piece at a time. Bombaring a publisher with 10 manuscripts is arrogant and disrespectful.
      No the issue again is companies expecting people to NOT submit to more than one at a time. That in itself is arrogant. RMM states you are not applying for a job,
      Well, technically, aren’t you?
      If you are a FT author…isn’t that your job? Or if you are a PT paid author…isn’t that a job?
      And companies that sign you to 3-book deals in X amount of time…that’s a job…heck you could lose advances etc.
      So yes, YOUR point is DEAD on. Juan’s is more about multiples.
      Thanks MCS!

  9. I will say that if a company asks for exclusive rights to read your MS, then it usually means they are very serious about it and have given themselves a deadline to get it done. In a way, an author should feel a bit of flattery and excitement that their MS is being seriously considered. And if they chose to submit to that certain press, well I would think the wait is worth it.

    • MARK! We here at the PRESS 100 percent agree with you. It looks like Juan did too! NICE! Thanks for the input. Please feel free to subscribe! We will gladly follow you as well!

  10. Hi Mark. Yes, exclusive rights for the second read?! Sure thing! I would be pumped! Totally!
    BUT
    My point is the initial USS!
    Thanks for calling me Juan and not “IT” anymore Press!
    My kid was about to kick yer butt! They got my back!
    =)
    Hope you enjoyed the blog.
    Maybe next week a new one?
    bye, k?

    • Yes please! 2nd hottest article we’ve posted yet and may still be #1 before too long!
      Who’s your kid? Do we know them? Is that a hint!
      LOL
      Anyhow yes I think we agree.
      1. Final review for potential publication? Honor the publisher.
      2. Initial submissions, unsolicited? Honor the writer.

  11. i agree that the publishing industry needs to update there submissions policy. As far as the writing goes it’s okay although a little annoying. It’s like talking to my daughter when she was 15. I consider text speech pretty juvenile. A few more k’s and OMG and I’ll go read a site that writes for adults.

    • We considered editing it, but then we understood WHY the “k” and “OMG”
      Knowing Juan the bit we have communicated, she/he is very smart in subliminal messaging….
      Our guess? Juan’s hinting at “getting with the times”….
      the argument was very well thought out (we think) and those were quite random and almost out of character. Then it struck us…lol….thanks for the input Brian!

  12. I understand Juan’s feelings about simultaneous submissions and he’s got valid points, however, he must consider that these days every publisher has had to cut staff, which includes editorial, so there are less people able to read manuscripts. If an author chooses to ignore the request (which is their right, they must inform all publishers if their work is accepted by a publisher.

    As an associate editor for a magazine, it’s easy to get inundated with manuscripts and even if we (there’s maybe six other AEs) only read the first three pages, it’s going to take a while to go through everything we receive. In addition, we all have lives outside of publishing that make demands on us. Many editors work 10+ hours and then go home and read manuscripts, so it’s not like they’re spending their days doing nothing but reading. They wind up doing it on their own time.

    Keep in mind, publishing is a tight community and many editors know each other. They talk to each other and I would personally hate to find myself rejected by a bunch of publishers because I didn’t follow a simple guideline. What do you do in the mean time? Start your next project so when a publisher says yes, you’ve got a second book on the way.

    Another way to avoid this completely, is to find an agent who can submit your work to several publishers at once.

    A word about self-publishing. Traditionally published authors who are now self-publishing are making money because they have a following. Those self-published books that have been picked up by publishers have sold thousands of copies because of book buzz (exceptional marketing and promotion (more than a Facebook and Twitter account)).

    Good luck!

    • Great point you add there Gary.
      OF COURSE….if an author does get picked up, the decency should go the other way and the author should inform the other companies!
      Absolutely! We 100 percent agree. If we said authors can do whatever and not follow the same standards? That would be hypocrisy 101.
      So um…got any inexpensive but smart marketing ideas for a damn good book? lol

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