In answer to what happened with a particular executive editor.
When I began to write, I approached it with the same energy and enthusiasm that I have always brought to anything I work at. I educated myself as I went. I sought the advice and expertise of those I respected, and I worked my ass off. With a (reasonably) complete manuscript in hand, I wrote my first ever synopsis and blurb. Encouraged by my family, I entered a blind editor pitch for a major publisher. Even though I wasn’t a finalist, the executive editor sent me an email saying she was intrigued, and asked me to send the full manuscript and synopsis to her attention. She offered no promises beyond “a bit of feedback.” Her email indicated that if I sent it immediately, she had time to look at it. I sent it the same day based solely on the promise of feedback. Who wouldn’t like feedback from an executive editor of a major publisher?
Naively, I expected the editor to do what she said she’d do. I waited patiently for my rejection – hey, I’m realistic, it was my first try and it needed some work. But I was very excited at the prospect of some feedback. Sixty days (almost to the hour) later, I received a form rejection. No feedback and hardly timely in my opinion. I was pretty sure that my book had been logged into the system and at sixty days the time for review expired and out came the form rejection. Had I sent it unsolicited, I would have been fine with that. But it was requested, she supposedly had time then, and a promise was made.
So, I emailed the editor and very politely told her how disappointed I was by her failure to follow through on the feedback. Three weeks later (really – three weeks!) she responded and informed me that she doesn’t read manuscripts – that’s what her staff does, and they didn’t give her any feedback, so she didn’t have any for me. Huh? You requested it personally, told me you had time to read it, promised ‘a bit of feedback’, but now you inform me that you don’t do your own job? Why was your name on the rejection notice? And what the hell does timely mean in an editor’s world?
In talking to several of my print published friends, this is apparently not unusual. Those same friends also cautioned me to not respond in my usual fashion (indignation with foul language involved – I have a tendency to sound a little like R. Lee Ermy when I’m unhappy – because I shouldn’t burn any bridges. I was warned that word would quickly spread in the publishing world that I was “difficult” and no one would ever publish me. Somehow that thought didn’t really bother me. What did bother me was the piss-poor behavior of the executive editor of a major publisher. Apparently, expecting this woman to follow through on her promise in a timely manner was simply unreasonable.
Well… gosh. Maybe I shouldn’t have shown up to work for all those years I was in the military. Maybe I shouldn’t have polished my boots, put on my hat, or honored my word. Perhaps, I should have simply promised to help my troops solve their problems and not bothered to. Or I could have promised to visit my troops on Christmas Eve when they were standing guard on the flight line at 0200, and instead just sent one of my junior NCOs to do it for me. Maybe I should have agreed to do my job at Christmas, but not shown up until Valentine’s Day. Then after my junior NCO wrote his report – I could have simply signed my damn name to it.
Because after all, it’s only my f***ing job, and why should I respect you or myself enough to do it?
*sigh* Now you see why I can only work with people that I respect.