At BookLocker.com, we reject numerous manuscripts each year. Our reputation is our most valuable asset and publishing books that are, forgive me, garbage, would harm that. While many of our competitors are running “author meat markets” (they don’t care what they put on the market as long as the author has money in his/her pocket), we don’t do business that way.
You don’t want your book published by an author meat market because you’ll be guilty by association. Many libraries and bookstores won’t buy books from publishers who put bad books on the market.
When I reject a manuscript, some authors come out swinging. In the exchange below, you can probably guess why I originally rejected the author’s manuscript. He then submitted his manuscript again, using a different name and email address. I’ve seen that trick a thousand times over the years. I’m not stupid.
FROM THE “AUTHOR”
Angela at last there is finance. Can u publish my books now? Should i introduce my financier to u?
I’m sorry but we rejected your manuscript back in January of last year.
FINAL RESPONSE FROM THE “AUTHOR”
Angie u re a racist bcos u dont want poverty to be eradicated seeing that it will benefit blacks more and u hate my gut for criticising western world.u re enemy of urself,mankind and even d west.they will pay ur money.u re not a christian.ok
Whatever, dude. I did not respond. I’m far too busy to engage loonies.
Another author, with whom I’d spent a considerable amount of time corresponding, finally submitted his manuscript this week. It was chock full of misspelled words and punctuation errors. It was really, REALLY bad. I asked the author if he was planning to have his manuscript professionally edited. He gave me the same cockamamie story I’ve also heard too many times over the years.
“My misspellings and punctuation are ALL very purposeful.”
Uh huh. No, they’re not. You’re just upset that somebody noticed them.
He went on to say that his purpose was to: hover BELOW th’line of “standard” of “correctness”, to show the “uneducated” that it IS possible to achieve.
Yeah, right (yawn…). He then wrote that he didn’t want to damage my company’s reputation with his “art.”
And this: …no room at the Inn for unconventional. CONVENT!, Dress correct!, COMPLY!, OBEY!, Do This Correctly or Be Gone!!! Whew!
When I reject a manuscript, I am extremely professional and I apologize to the author. However, some just can’t resist coming back with several swings below the belt.
Again, just another day in the life of being a book publisher. Magazine publishers experience this from some freelance writers, too.
- 10 Secret Reasons Why That Publisher Rejected Your Book (That He/She Will Never Tell You About)
- 12 Ways To Get Quickly Rejected By An Editor By Angela Hoy
- Just Because I Rejected Your Manuscript Doesn’t Mean I’m a Racist, Homophobe, Anti-Semite, etc. By Angela Hoy
- Don’t Spew Venom At Editors After Rejection By Angela Hoy
- Don’t Argue With Editors After Rejection By Angela Hoy
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I always admire your honesty and integrity. As an editor, you owe it to the readers not to make them stumble over errors that could be corrected. I can’t bear to read something that’s full of grammatical and spelling errors. It’s painful!
I was once part of a writer’s group (maybe where I first heard of you) whose writers submitted stories and had the option of asking for critiques from their fellow writers. Many times when I corrected grammar or spelling, the writer’s feelings were hurt because “no one cares about those errors,” and “it’s not critical to the point of the story.” I CARE about it in my own writing. Don’t ask for critiques if you aren’t willing to have those types of errors called out. That’s the first thing that makes me stop reading your story!
Just a thought, there are many people who speak and write in the way the second author presented his work if what he was saying was truthful. While we in the industry should uphold standards, don’t we also have the obligation to break barriers if the content of said work, regardless of writing style or lack thereof, incites, entertains, and provokes us into thinking outside the box?
Trust me. His writing wasn’t “outside of the box.” He simply did not know how to spell correctly, nor how to use correct punctuation. It was one of the worst manuscripts I’ve ever seen.
Thank you for affirming one of my all-time favorite self-evident truths. Truth #3: You can’t fix stupid.
The other two are:
#2) You can’t give something that doesn’t belong to you.
#1) You can’t earn Salvation.