Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Surfacing the Slush Pile...Two Years Later

So it wasn't quite two years. Twenty-two months to be exact. But approximately two years ago, after my agent and I broke up, I sent my manuscript out to a couple of slush piles for consideration.

A couple of days ago, I heard from one.

Yes, 22 months. But, if any of you know the publisher, Baen, you know it is pretty common for them.

The funny part about it, is that they googled me and found my website. Then they used my contact form on my website to tell me they couldn't get my email to work. So here I am at home, wondering what they would send me. I mean, if it was a rejection, would they bother to ask me for my email before they rejected me?

Well, come to find out that it was indeed a rejection, but a personalized one. The frustrating thing about that sort of rejection, is in the last two years I've resurrected my book and revised at least two more times. Is isn't the same book now as it was when I submitted two years ago.

Now Baen slush, I believe, initially starts with the Slushmaster General. They aren't official editors of Baen, but readers. But to get a personalized rejection from readers is still a good thing. I guess they don't give out notes in their slush all the time. Several of their criticisms were things that I fixed during edits. A few more are easy fixes. Their biggest complaint was pacing. But the interesting thing about that, is that this same version of the manuscript was considered by an editor of a great publishing house (when it was in the YA round of submissions), and he never mentioned pacing issues.

So this goes to prove that writing can be very subjective. One person liked my pacing, another didn't.The publishing industry can be a tough market, because it truly is very subjective. But the key is to always keep an open mind. Because if this slushmaster didn't like my pacing in specific spots, there is a good chance someone else would feel the same. So it is good to get feedback and at least consider how you can apply it in your writing. There is always room to improve.

But an encouraging note they sent me, is that they thought it was well-written and imaginative. They even said that my magic system was reminiscent of the magical systems Brandon Sanderson has invented in his books. BRANDON SANDERSON! Now, if you read fantasy at all, you'd know that made me one happy little writer. Brandon Sanderson is awesome, one of my favorites. And for them to compare me to him at all....well, that rejection made my day.


  1. I suppose it's good manners to respond, even twenty-two months later. The good thing is that you know the changes you made were warranted, and then there are the compliments that will keep you encouraged.

  2. Amazing that they took the time so long after receiving it. Very cool! And I love you took the encouragement. Best way to be. :)

  3. Praise indeed to be mentioned in the same breath as Brandon Sanderson! I'm reading his second Mistborn book at the moment and it's marvellous.

    Good luck and just keep swimming.

  4. Yay! The fact that they sought you out shows this story stuck in their heads. I'm so glad you're getting encouragement to stick with such a promising novel.

    And great advice about taking criticism and applying it to our writing.

  5. Glad you're staying positive. :)

  6. Wow, that was a long wait! but it does sound like one of the better rejections a person could get ;)

  7. You know what? I went through six manuscripts. Number six, I started getting very personalized editor rejections-- and seven was the one that sold. They don't bother if you're not near to hitting the mark. Take it as a great sign. I'm excited for you.

  8. I'm glad you found a silver lining in your rejection. :) but 22 months, now that is just a shame. I hope they realize that.

  9. As late as the response was, I think it's as good a rejection as you can get. Onwards and upwards! :D


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