~Submitted my manuscript: What next?

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Sevel, May 18, 2006.

  1.  
    Sevel

    Sevel Silly...Little...Cali Gal

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    alright, so i submitted my 100,00 + word book earlier this month and i know it'll be quite some time until i hear back...what should i do? try sending my manuscript to other publishers in the mean time as well, or should i just wait to hear back from this publisher right now?

    i'm sure there must be some thread about this somewhere but i dont have the time or the patience at this moment to look it up so forgive me please...anyways, thanks much! = )

    ~H.
  2.  
    iansales

    iansales New Member

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    Did you mention in your cover letter that it was a simultaneous submission? If not, best not to submit elsewhere until you've heard back.

    As for what to do while you're wating... Get to work on your next project, of course :)
  3.  
    Brian Turner

    Brian Turner Brian G. Turner Staff Member

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    I highly recommend you read Carole Blake's "From Pitch to Publication" - it gives a very good overview of the submissions process from an agent's point of view, and the publishing process from acceptance.

    Also, moved to Publishing board. :)
  4.  
    Wayne Blackhurst

    Wayne Blackhurst New Member

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    I agree with Ian.

    ;-)
  5.  
    Sevel

    Sevel Silly...Little...Cali Gal

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    oh, no i didnt mention it was simultaneous..alrighty, i shall keep to writing the sequel hehe...thanks folks! i'll check out what you recommended too = )

    and wayne your avvy is sooo cute hehe!
  6.  
    Wayne Blackhurst

    Wayne Blackhurst New Member

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    Her name's Poppy and lives with another house-rabbit, Bramble. Sweet, eh?
  7.  
    Sevel

    Sevel Silly...Little...Cali Gal

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    aww hehe very sweet! = P i love rabbits, i have one myself named Zorro haha
  8.  
    Wayne Blackhurst

    Wayne Blackhurst New Member

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    To re-enforce Ian’s point, unless you’ve stated otherwise, exclusivity is by far the ideal, I imagine. Look at it from their perspective. Who wants to invest precious time in something viewed by the world and his dog? The time between can be used to evolve as a writer. Absorb the experience, stop and sniff the flowers, admire the view. It’s not a race.
  9.  
    Green Knight

    Green Knight He hath an axe to grynde

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    Dammit, think about it!

    Submit to as many people simultaneously as you can. Buy as many stamps and envelopes as you can afford. Post a copy every day if you have the energy. Otherwise, you will grow old and toothless waiting for a response.

    What have you got to lose? Why are you considering the feelings of companies who a) don't yet care who you are, and b) will never find out that you have submitted simultaneously to others - unless by some great stroke of luck they get involved in a bidding war. And even then it's not certain they will ever know. Agents submit simultaneously all the time, and get publishers to bid against one another. Why should you behave any different?

    The market is weighed entirely in favour of the publisher. Submitting one at a time may give you the moral high ground, but it'll also ensure you have a very long wait. Publishers don't compare slush piles - who has the time? If someone makes you an offer, take it. If two make offers, take the best. What's the conundrum?
  10.  
    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    I've been told by an editor that genre editors do talk to each other, and they do, in fact, mention manuscripts and authors that have caught their fancy.

    So if editor A says to editor B, "I'm looking at an urban dystopian fairy tale from a writer in Ohio," and editor B says, "Gosh, that sounds exactly like something that came in two months ago and we're giving it serious consideration. The title of the book wouldn't be _______, would it?" you have two editors saying to themselves, "Well, I liked it, but not enough to get into a bidding war. Especially over someone who ignored our policy of no simultaneous submissions. Guess I'll pass on this one."

    Of course, it only gets you into trouble if editors are actually thinking about buying your book. If you're confident that they're going to turn you down anyway, there's no danger ... but then, if you're so sure that's going to happen, why submit in the first place?

    As for bidding wars over manuscripts from unknown authors, those are few and far between, and knowing that another house is looking at the book is more likely to kill interest than stimulate it. Why pay more than they would otherwise offer for that book when there are several others just as good under consideration?

    Agents have the experience to recognize potential exceptions and to exploit them, but this sort of ploy is best left to the experts.
  11.  
    Green Knight

    Green Knight He hath an axe to grynde

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    I will have to argue the point, I'm afraid. This is simply not the case.

    Publishing is a business, like selling nachos or double glazing. Do you really imagine that if a publisher comes across something they think could make them a profit, that they would pass it up just because it had been offered to more than one market? Especially in those circumstances, come to think of it. "Oh no, I'll just drop this one so my bitter rival and competitor can publish it instead." On the contrary, if another publisher is also interested, this confirms the opinions of the first, and reinforces their conviction that they're on to a winner. Publishers are never 100% convinced of their own judgements, so to have them confirmed by others is very reassuring and may actually motivate them.

    Of course, some editors will say, Don't submit to anyone else but us. You would, wouldn't you? It suits every publisher to perpetuate the myth that simultaneous submissions = automatic rejection. But one hopes that only the most naive would actually believe this.

    If nothing else, do the maths. You submit a book. It will probably be three months before it is read. If any good at all, it will then wait another month or two to be read by someone higher up. Then it will be rejected (unless you are very lucky). That's half a year gone. Even most books that become bestsellers are rejected six, seven, eight times. Mine got about 12 rejections before being taken on. Are you prepared to wait four or five years not knowing? If you are, you are more patient than I am... :)
  12.  
    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    Yes, I do imagine that. For one thing, taking on a new writer is a huge risk, and they don't expect to make much of a profit when they do -- which is why they offer such miniscule advances. They're not about to let themselves be manuevered into paying extra (and risk not even breaking even) out of their burning desire to prevent another editor from acquiring that book and getting that meager return (if any) on their investment. For another thing, for every first time author they pick up, there will be several others they would have liked to take a chance on but had to turn down because they don't have that many slots for new authors. So if they lose the chance to publish one new author, they can easily fill their place with another. As you said, it's a business, and until we start making them money we aren't precisely unique or valuable commodities.

    Also, I can't speak for the situation in the UK, because I've only met one British editor, but I have worked with several editors at major NY houses and met many more, and I never detected any tiniest indication of that bitter rivalry you believe in so strongly. Quite the opposite. And truly, it wouldn't make much sense. The way editors move from house to house during their career, today's implacable foe could be next month's coworker -- or a close associate six months back. That bitterness you mention could be a real inconvenience when it came time to settle in at a new job and make friends with the people you have to collaborate with (genre publishing being a very collaborative business).

    And yes, I have learned to be patient. It's not some kind of race, he who gets there first wins. As you have said yourself, success is largely a matter of luck and timing, and you never know when your most advantageous moment is going to be. So what is the big hurry? Moreover, once your book is accepted, everything moves at a snail's pace as you go through the production process. A habit of patience is going to be invaluable then.

    Besides, the time you spend waiting to hear from a publisher should be time you put to good use; you shouldn't be just sitting on your hands. You can revise what you've already written (you should certainly be doing that anyway after a handful of rejections), you can write something new. You can be polishing your craft. All those terribly successful books you hear about that are rejected by numerous houses before finally being picked up and published to enormous sales -- have you ever thought to ask how many rewrites they might have gone through in the interim? The book that fourteen publishers rejected may be substantially different from the book the fifteenth publisher accepted.

    Buy since we are going into detail here, let's examine your assumption that you can send in your book, receive multiple offers, and accept the best one. How is that supposed to work? Say that an editor at House X gets back to you after three months with an offer on your book. It isn't much, and you rather hoped that you would get more. Do you take that offer, only to learn two months later after you've signed the contract that an editor at House Y was interested too -- and House Y usually offers slightly bigger advances? Do you turn down House X hoping to hear from House Y or Z, even though they've expressed no interest as yet? Do you call up House Y and Z (as an agent can do) and say, "That book I sent you. House X just made an offer. You need to read the book now and get back to me?" (Gee, that wouldn't look pretentious or anything.) Or do you tell House X, "I'm sorry, you'll have to wait until I hear back from some of the other houses I submitted to -- but haven't heard a word from as yet -- before I can make an decision." Do you imagine they'll hang around for two, three, or four months waiting for you to get another offer?

    It seems to me that the only sensible alternative would be to accept the first offer you get. Which is exactly what you would do submitting to one place at a time. Except that submitting to one house at a time doesn't leave you open to finding out later that you accepted less money than you might have received elsewhere (had you shown a little of that underrated quality known as patience), you haven't risked alienating several editors, and you've had time to revise and improve your book.
  13.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    Teresa's right. Nor is this a recent trend. This is true throughout the history of publishing. Publishers talk to each other. They get feedback from each other. They sometimes show manuscripts they're interested in, but not quite sure they're going to take, if they think the writer deserves a chance, to other publishers on the chance they may take it. The same with editors. There's generally a strong sense of community with the publishing business, especially when it comes to genre publishing. And they look very dimly on writers whom they perceive to be playing both ends against the middle. While there isn't actually a blackballing, it can result in an unconscious resistance to that writer once they earn that reputation. Agents have that privilege. A writer selling his own work really had better not play that game, not unless he (or she) has a very sharp straight razor and a good mirror handy for when the final results come in....
  14.  
    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    Exactly, JD. And the more I think about it, the more problems I see with this business of sending in multiple submissions to publishers who have said that they don't accept them.

    Well no, I wouldn't say that if I didn't mean it, and I don't think it's naive to expect other people to tell the truth as well. For that matter, why would I want to enter into a business relationship with someone I already suspect of deceiving me? That wouldn't be very smart.

    Also, sending out multiple submissions sounds expensive, and potentially wasteful. Why put out the money for paper and ink (or photocopying) and postage to send to dozens of different editors, when you might only need to send it to one or two? I've never had that kind of money to throw away, and I suspect that others here don't either.

    Besides, doing it that way could deny you the chance to make that one final revision that makes all the difference. Not much point in revising it if everyone has already seen it, and there is no place left to send it.
  15.  
    LeoCrow

    LeoCrow New Member

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    Well. the original poster, Sevel didn't say that the publisher he/she submited the book does not accept books that had multiple submissions. he just said he didn't mention that he would send it elsewhere at the same time. so if the publisher does not allow multiple submissions then don't submit it elsewhere until you know the results. otherwise, you can wait 3-4 months and then perhaps send it elsewhere. but before doing so just do make a call to the publisher to know for sure whether they allow it or not and whether they respond to every submition or not. play it safe
  16.  
    Green Knight

    Green Knight He hath an axe to grynde

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    Well, I am assuming we are in the real world still. Most people are unlikely to get more than one offer. Most people are very likely to get none.

    Submit to 10 at once, and IF your book is good enough, you may get an offer in about a year's time. Submit to the same ten in sequence, and the law of averages puts that offer back to about five years hence.

    No, it is not a race. But if for example you are writing a series, you would like to know that Book 1 is going to be published, wouldn't you? Or else writing books 2 and 3 are going to be very much more difficult.

    Perhaps some publishers really do have a thing about simul. subs. So be it. But weighing up the relative risks (a 5% chance perhaps of narking off one publisher who probably would have refused the book anyway; compared to waiting many years not knowing) I know which one I would - which one I did - pick.

    It's a business. Business is tough.
  17.  
    Green Knight

    Green Knight He hath an axe to grynde

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    It may certainly look that way from the outside :) At the publishing house where I worked, it was all lovey-dovey and sweetness and light face to face, but once backs were turned, you should have heard the language...!
  18.  
    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    Correct me if I am wrong, but you were the one who brought up the (unlikely) possibility of two or more offers.

    Very true. Especially for those who make up their minds in advance as to how it does or should work, and refuse to adjust themselves to the reality.

    However, there is really not much point in continuing to beat this dead horse. I'm not likely to convince you of anything, and you certainly are not going to convince me. I'll just point out that submitting to one publisher at a time and revising at intervals in between worked well for me and for other writers that I know. If your method also brought everything you wanted (I'm assuming that was a book deal, but if it was merely to get things over with quickly others may wish to work and hope for something more) there is really nothing more to be said.
  19.  
    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    That sounds to me like a publishing house (or any business) that was failing badly. When times get tough people do tend to turn on each other. Perhaps that colored your perspective.
  20.  
    Green Knight

    Green Knight He hath an axe to grynde

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    Not you, no. In fact, I don't want to 'convince' anyone as such. Merely offer another perspective. I am getting the feeling that things are slightly different in the States from how they are here. In the UK my impression is that publishers accept the reality that authors will submit to many publishers/agents and play their cards close to their chest. They may not relish it, but they live with it. And no-one with good business sense is going to turn down the next Terry Brooks just because they suspect he's sent it to someone else as well. There will be a limit to such tolerance naturally - if Brooks Mk2 starts to haggle outrageously from one to the other, then show him the door, sure. But competition is a fact of business life, and rival bids (if they happen at all) are just grist to the mill.

    Didn't mean to turn this into a big argument. Just trying to point out that most people may wait an awful long time if they choose the submit-wait-submit route. Shalom.
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