Why so nervous?

July 12, 2010 Firestorm

I had an interesting chat last night about getting published, from a friend trying to give me a pep talk. After all, he said, since the manuscript’s already been through this once, why be so nervous? Surely it can make its way through the slush again, and at least we already know it is publishable.

Well, I definitely have good reason to be nervous, because the answer to the second question is both yes and no.

There is a brilliant analysis of the slushpile and what it takes to get out of it on Slushkiller by Teresa Nielson Hayden (scroll down to 3. The Context of Rejection)

Going through her fourteen point list, I don’t need to worry about items one to ten (covering illiteracy, plagarism, and authors with “problems”) which are the reasons for 95-99% of slush rejections.

This leaves three more reasons for rejection before reaching point 14 “Buy this book”. All three are to do with the preferences of the publishing house. No matter how good the book is, if it isn’t what they are looking for, they may not pick it up. Just because one publisher liked my work, it does not guarantee another publishing house will.

Editorial taste is the one thing that it all hinges on. Well, that and Royal Mail…