Wednesday, September 18, 2013

As always when I post the sort of thing I posted yesterday, I am full of regret afterward. Of course I am supremely grateful for your tonic words, both here and in private notes, but I feel I ought to have been indifferent to this rejection, or at least have had enough gumption to hold my tongue. Call it my internal war between Puritan and Romantic, silence versus volubility, whatever you like.

Much of my shock arose, as Maureen pointed out, from the bizarre three-year gap between submission and response. I told a friend yesterday that reading that letter felt like being hit by a Bugs Bunny slow pitch. I wasn't armed for it.

I haven't decided whether or not I should respond to the publisher or just let the issue die. For the moment I lean toward letting it die.

Anyway, onward. I'll never learn to write in any more salable way, so I might as well keep doing what I'm doing. It's either that or do nothing, which doesn't seem to be one of my character traits.


Christopher said...

I think you're missing the point. Dawn -- after all, the editor could just have pretended the letter went in the mail years ago, or that there was a misunderstanding among the staff, or that your response fell between two stools. Whatever, this is clearly a person of integrity, and although he writes you from an awkward and indefensible position he writes you without guile or special pleading. I'd take that as a compliment, in fact, that he trusted your own integrity enough to know that you would understand and forgive him.

The problem with a day and night nature is that sometimes one doesn't see very well at dawn.


Maureen said...

I think I'd still rather timely receive a form rejection than an excuse-filled rejection after three years have elapsed.

The lack of timely response - and it's certainly not limited to publishers (think of applicants who take time and make effort to respond to an employment ad, even have an interview, and never get so much as a rejection via e-mail, let alone a call or a letter with any explanation) - is just poor manners, common to so many aspects of life and something we all tend to ignore too often.

Writing is a passion but also a vocation. Publishing is a business. Both are about building relationships. If a publisher wishes to hold a manuscript longer than is generally considered acceptable (and three years would not be so regarded), especially if the publisher does not accept simultaneous submissions, then courtesy dictates it should let the writer know and then follow-up with a final decision as soon as possible.