Editing Rant: Finish My Book

Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash

Most of the February slush has been rejected. We are still working out way through the full manuscripts. And one just got slashed. The ending fell apart. After reading 70,000 words, I had to reject the work.

And when I did a personalized rejection, because it was a good story until then and I wanted them to understand why I couldn’t move forward with it, I got what amounted to:

“tee-hee, I just didn’t know how to end it.”

Really, I hadn’t noticed. o_O 

You knew you didn’t have an ending? So why are you submitting it for publication? <snarl>

You just wasted my time and yours.

Oh, I am so Ranting about this – but in “private”, with the other editors doing the slush reading with me.

Me: The author (don’t remember if male or female) thought we could help them fix it.

Editor who was up late with me: Yeah, ’cause that’s what we do, finish people’s books for them. Because we’re so desperate for new material. (sarcasm font.)

Me: Authors really don’t know the difference between developmental editing done by agents and authors under contract, and what are the requirements for unsolicited materials. In one case it is warm fuzzy “you wonderful wordsmith, let’s bounce ideas because we got a (legal) relationship” and the other is “nice but not there yet – NEXT!”.

The difference between one-on-one and one on 200.

(snipped for brevity)

And that is the important part of the conversation I want to share. When submitting to an open call, there is no relationship in place. The object is to get in the door while it is open.

An agent relationship or a relationship with a publisher, once under contract, has give-and-take. Ideas can be bounced for the SECOND book or series.

But that initial submission need to be great.

We can’t do your job for you. Sorry.