At Unsolicited Press we value our books. We value our authors and the material that they put out into the world. But we value something else even more: reference and written craft books. Books that help us do our job better. Books that help our writers do an even better job writing fascinating stories.
Last week, we polled the office, our editors, writers, production team, IT folks...everybody...to see which books were the most important to them in editing, writing, and reference. Here were the three MOST popular books:
For the love of God, will every writer who submits to a small press think about the words that they choose to use in ther manuscripts! Yesterday, Rubie, Eric, SR Stewart, the interns, and myself were hacking away at some developmental edits, and reading submissions. It was a submission day.
Yuck. Ew. Nasty. Abhorring of souls. That is the feeling I get on submission days. It is the same feeling I get when I have to copy-edit a 200 page novel that uses the word "pretty" in front every single noun on the page. It makes me want to drink gin and cry bloody tears over your work.
With that said, "I say NO MORE."
Here are five words that all writers should avoid starting immediately:
4. Really, Very...or any version of those words. Instead, choose to liven up your sentence.
I am not going to provide examples. Go through your work and take them out. Revise with better sentences.
Submit your work to our email address and in the subject heading let us know that it is for the contest. A button to pay your entry fee will be coming by May 1st ,2014.
Last year we did a small contest and the winners were put into our lit journal, but this year we are joining the big guys. We are offering publication to three lucky contest winners. Yeah, it's that kind of big. Three winners in any genre will be published under UP with the full marketing ploy. The winners will receive 10 copies of their book. This contest will only work if we receive enough entries. We have to have a solid set of manuscripts to choose from. Authors interested in submitting should have a complete, edited manuscript. We will do one edit cycle for each winner.
Submission deadline: 5/15/14
Winner notification: 6/1/14
Publication date: 6/25/14; 7/5/14; 7/15/14
Entry fee: $25
Fiction: 100-200 pages
We will do this quick n dirty, but professionally. Every book will go under our professional editorial and production plans before publication. We have installed a set of editors to run the contest and run the editorial process for each book. Rubie, Eric, and Esme are the lea editors.
Did we mention that should you win, you would be nominated for a Push Cart? And that you'll receive a little bit of flow? We can't guarantee the amount until we see the entry results.
Cool flyer to come.
Does your work, whether large or small keep getting rejected? Sometimes it is the sheer fact that editors or their assistants aren't reading your work.
As a former freelance editor for (can't be named) a big-name publisher, I know this happens. Editors are "too busy" to read them all. And if you are a little-known writer, you can pretty much guarantee that your envelope never even got opened by anybody because it didn't have enough shiny money potential on the flap...
Honestly, we think that this discrepancy is bullshit. As though they are too big or too funded to actually care. Tangent complete.
With that out of the way, many authors/writers get rejected by all sorts of publishers for reasons that could have been avoided....outside of shitty writing. From experience as editors, as readers, and as interns of previous houses, here are seven reasons you may be getting rejected from publishers big and small:
Acquisitions is a bitch. Just ask Rubie. Ask Miss Stewart....her associate acq. editor. Ask the interns who read submissions with the editors. Ask the rest of the team who joyously waits for the next office favorite.
Acquisitions may be the bet department to be in, but it also means so many other things too. Rubie and her acquisitions teams must be thoroughly educated in contract law, permissions, copyright law, and hunting down brilliant titles. If you though that an acquisitions author just sits at her desk waiting for submissions, well you've gone nuts.
As the current acquisitions intern, I have seen Rubie pack her things and tell us that she is going to stalk the coffee shops down the street for the people writing in notebooks. That broad will do anything for a good title.
But don't get in her way. Don't make her angry. She is our cutthroat editor and she will hack you from the team if you do not cooperate. If you think that your work requires no editing. She will sleep well that night knowing that she was right. So, you may be wondering how to get on the good side of an acquisitions editor...email her when she is filling up her editorial calendars.
In the next three months, Rubie will be acquiring 48 titles, given that we receive 48 fantastic pieces. Did you hear that? FORTY-EIGHT. What is she looking for? How will she pluck you up from the 200+ emails that she receives monthly? Your query letter. Don't even think that she will read your work if you cannot craft a solid 2-4 sentence blurb about your book.
She wants poetry. She really, really, really wants essay collections. She would kill for a few memoirs...as long as they aren't "memoiry". Realistic fiction. She wants to feel pain, the emotional, can't take it back sort of pain.
Submitting early does not guarantee that, should she love you, your work will be published early. She has a weird way of placing writers. They work serendipitously...yes, I said that. If we get enough work that rocks, then she will begin to fill the next year's calendar. She said that she is on a mission. Or she'll lose her mind and close down submissions for a year....like last year.
So, you should submit. You should only submit if you are ready. You should only submit if you are ready to have your work edited, suggested against/for, and to work as a member of our team to make your work great.
May the best dogs win.
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