It seems like a good time for another story of an unexpected happening with a submission. This strange submission story may have felt like an April Fool’s but it was no joke. Today’s submission tale from an anonymous guest goes to show that editors are people too, and don’t always remember things:
I subbed a picture book manuscript to a small but very well-established and respected house. I’d met the editor, had conference crits with her, and even had an invite to send a few PBs at a time since she takes so long to respond. A year went by and I hadn’t heard anything. Meanwhile, I signed up for our local SCBWI conference and paid the extra bit for a critique. You don’t find out which industry professional (could be writer, agent, editor) you will be matched with until the conference. I wound up with the editor from the small house and I brought the same story. I figured that might be a good thing and it was! She liked it, complimenting the character’s name, his personality and the strong narrative arc. I left with an enthusiastic ‘Revise and Resubmit’. Her critique was thoughtful and I agreed with the one aspect she would like to see tweaked. The revision made the story stronger and so I waited eagerly for news. I waited eagerly for eight months. When the envelope arrived, it was the version of the story I had sent nearly two years ago with a note: “This looks familiar. Have I seen it before?” I suffered (briefly) over what to do. A rejection is a rejection, after all, and questions are usually rhetorical and responses are not only not expected, they’re not wanted. BUT, she was going to run into the R & R at some point and would (quite possibly) think I was a nutcase who wouldn’t take no for an answer. Soooooo. I wrote and explained the situation and thanked her for her guidance, saying that the story was much stronger as a result of her suggestions. (Hint. Hint.) I got a lovely response. Agreeing that it was much improved and wishing me luck finding an editor who loved stories about “X”. I. Kid. You. Not.
I am guessing that things can get pretty crazy in the slush pile of any publishing house. Seems like a reply to the rejection was definitely in order. Great job Anonymous. As always we just have to roll with it, keep on subbing, and maybe someday we can connect with that just right editor who loves stories about “X”. A hearty thanks to the subber who shared this story with us. May you find an editor who loves your manuscript and wants to turn it into a book!
Okay Sub It Clubbers, if you have a strange submission story please do share it with us. As usual, I am on the hunt for more. Please, please, pretty please email me with your Strange Submission Stories at SubItClub (at) gmail (dot) com or, of course, Sub It Club members can message me on Facebook. I will never ever reveal your identity to anyone. Promise. I may have to add Master Secret Keeper to my bio.