“Don't make the editor's decision for her by not submitting.” I thought of that quote from Victoria Janssen this past Wednesday as I read an editor's email.
“I’m the new editor at [XYZ Publishers],” she said, “handling [Jane Doe’s] former responsibilities. … We would like to circulate this manuscript to our publications committee to take a look at it. Is there a full manuscript available?”
I'd almost not sent the proposal to XYZ. None of the previous proposals I'd sent them had generated any kind of response, even an acknowledgment they'd been received.
But when I considered the houses to which I might send a proposal for this client's project, XYZ came to mind. Still when I initially tried to send it, my email bounced back as having a bad address. So I checked with my Hartline colleagues.
Their response wasn't encouraging. Like another few editors at other houses, Jane Doe had a reputation as a correspondence black hole. Nevertheless I tried an alternate address.
True to form, XYZ gave no response to my initial inquiry. Other houses did. They said nice things about the concept and the proposal — and that they were either full in this category or had given up on it because for them it didn't sell.
Time passed. I checked with the houses that had not yet replied, including XYZ. A few more responded, some with compliments, but all with rejections. But from XYZ, only silence.
Until Wednesday. As I sent the editor the full manuscript, I reflected on the reasons I'd included XYZ on my list — against strong evidence to the contrary.
In the end they may still say no. But at this point they're the only publisher saying yes. Good thing I decided to leave the decision to them.