Friday, August 24, 2007

On Unsolicited Manuscripts

Brian Knight over at Storytellers Unplugged has a short interview with three editors: Shane Staley (Delirium Books), Larry Roberts (Bloodletting Press), and Don D’Auria (Leisure Books). Knight asks the editors some questions with regards to unsolicited manuscripts and what makes them (or doesn't make them) accept a document for publication.
Q: What are your personal pet peeves when dealing with writers who have submitted work to you?

Shane: Simultaneous submissions. When I devote time to someone's work, that's an investment by me. So it's quite a loss of time and money when I go to accept a submission only to find out that the author has placed it elsewhere and is awaiting a response from another publisher. At which time, I generally withdraw my offer to publish the manuscript. Delirium's submission policy states clearly that we do not accept simultaneous submissions.

Larry: Receiving manuscripts without solicitation has become troublesome only because I feel a responsibility to the author. I know the writers have often put many months into the creation of the work and I feel a responsibility to that creative process by giving it a chance at success. As our press grows this is getting harder and harder to do.

Don: One thing that annoys me is when authors choose not to send me what I’ve asked for. I’ll often ask for the first three chapters and a synopsis. But I’ve had authors tell me the first three chapters aren’t very good, so they’re sending me three chapters selected from various places throughout the novel. Or they’ll tell me they don’t have a synopsis and don’t want to write one. I’m also not crazy about authors who send me four or five manuscripts at the same time and tell me to pick one.

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