Rejection: An Editor’s View

May 19th, 2005 · 5 Comments
by Booksquare

Unless you are one of the lucky ones, you will be rejected at least once in your writing career. Depending on your constitution, this might be a punch in the gut or a confirmation of what you suspected. Or something in the middle. They’ll tell you it isn’t personal, and it likely isn’t. We are cynical and suspect certain behavior affects even the slush pile. Karma is our guiding principle.

Anna Genoese, by all accounts, is a nice person. She’s also an editor at Tor/Forge; as previously noted, editors are lovely people, too. Anna Genoese has a job to do, and while it might surprise many of us, her choices are not personal. Or rather they are, but not in the way you think. She says it better than we can:

Editors are, really, paid for their opinions. Editors are promoted when it’s made clear to the bigwigs that this particular editor’s opinion is also shared by a couple tens of thousands of members of the reading public. An editor’s opinion isn’t law, neither is it flawless – and when an editor reads a submission and winces at the phrasing of a sentence, you can lay a pretty successful bet that nine out of ten people will wince too.

P.S. — You know how they say editors are really young? Let us suggest we had no real idea until we saw Anna’s picture.

File Under: Publishers and Editors

5 responses so far ↓

  • Kelley bell // May 20, 2005 at 6:09 am

    So what you are saying is that a great stand out editor is someone who is overly average? (ie: They think like the general public.)

    No wonder writers are frustrated.

  • Booksquare // May 20, 2005 at 7:50 am

    That’s an interesting way of putting it, but not too far off base. The general public in this case is the perceived audience for a particular book. In Anna’s case, her house publishes genre fiction, and she knows what will work her audience. For another house, the audience is entirely different (though there may be overlap).

    Authors can’t win, of course. This is not an objective business.

  • genevieve // May 22, 2005 at 2:56 am

    Romance is a tough market, but I doubt the readers are as demanding as their editors insist they are. Some of that ‘go away and read our books’ jazz really translates into ‘my slush pile is already big enough thanks’. I reckon.

  • Booksquare // May 22, 2005 at 9:06 am

    I think readers are demanding in any genre — they’re also voracious. And, sure, her slush pile is already big enough…have you ever seen one? They’re scary, scary things and when you think about your manuscript living in one, it’s quite disheartening. And on that depressing note…

  • KathyF // May 23, 2005 at 8:55 am

    I just remembered I submitted to them. Haven’t heard back, which means my ms is in that very same slush pile she was talking about. Probably the closest it will ever be to being published.

    Good enough.