Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Thought Train Stoppeth and Starteth

You know what's the scariest sound to hear when people are working on your house?

All of them.

I got a day off market research yesterday, because my horse expert came to help me make low-sodium bread that actually rises (apparently I'm kneading it wrong, and the only cure for that is - bake more bread!) and delivered the notes to the portion of the manuscript she'd read. I hated giving her such huge chunks of book, but it's not the places where you expect to have problems that the big problems bob up in, so - anyway, that's all in now and I've discovered a publisher who, though they were insisting on queries not long ago, are suddenly taking complete manuscripts. Either that, or somebody played a hideous practical joke on their submission page.

I weep for the trees lost in this endeavor, but when I see a publisher who wants to see complete MS, I always oblige. I sell better on the whole book than on a query. It's far from a done deal, but - look, I'm long-winded, okay? I admit it. I'm proud of it. I embrace my commonality with the Victorians, Tolkien, and Rowling. I'm also really, really good at cutting length out of a whole story.

Hooks and synopses? The opposite of my metier. Achilles had his tendon. I have short formats.

One phenomenon vanishing as the world goes digital: that mysterious page in the middle of the manuscript that is borked. Everything around it will be fine, but that sheet hung up on another one in the printer and suddenly the margin is at the top, or the middle, or some damn thing.

I used to have to print books a chapter at a time and adjust the daisy wheel in between. That printer was a workhorse though.


  1. The digital transition has definitely caught me napping. I printed out a bork-free copy of a story for Analog, then thought to check their submission guidelines to see if it was acceptable, and found out I could make an electronic submission. Oh. So I did.

    Rejected, but hey. Maybe it should be my first e-publication -- I do think people will like it.

  2. Well, don't give up after one rejection! There aren't as many SF publications out there as there used to be, but they still exist. If nothing else, by the time you've sent it around a dozen places, you'll have had time to let it settle and go through another couple of polishes, so even if you do go the e-pubbing route, it'll be closer to perfect than it would be now. If your only editor is yourself, it's better to take your time.