Just as a reminder…

Alright people, I think it’s time to refresh your memory about the purpose of this blog:

This blog is for the Editors of Leucrota Press to discuss facets of the publishing business, tips for writers, and to blow off some steam. If any writers have questions regarding our press, the publishing industry, or about submitting and manuscripts in general, please view our “Ask the Editors” tab above.

By doing this, we hope to create more writer/editor communication and understanding. Please don’t feel threatened, skittish, or reserved about asking questions, making comments, or saying things that might offend the editors – hell, we won’t hold our tongues. Come on, jump in the conversation, get involved, and help us improve by letting us know what you, the writers, need.

Note: All articles, posts, and comments are opinions of that posting editor, and may or may not be the opinion of the entire staff. These opinions are by no way meant to cover every editor at every publishing house, merely ours.

Why am I bringing this up?

I’ve gotten several emails over the weekend, regarding our wants and likes concerning our submission guidelines. Several of the most common complaints are:

“Your concerns are different than other publishers….”
“You are a lot pickier than some of the larger houses I’ve submitted to….”
“Your rejection letters are mean….”
“Your example of query letters don’t match the ‘good’ ones that I read about in this book….”

Well, sorry. What else do you want me to say?

We are NOT every other publisher, and therefore we have our own likes and dislikes, and concern ourselves with different things than the small press down the road. We care about detail, character development, plot, and style. Not saying that other houses don’t; but as far as our press, we would rather turn out less books and make sure those books are of the highest quality than just accept and print something just to raise our catalogue numbers.

As far as us being mean…welcome to the publishing world. As editors, it’s our job to be critical, to be picky, and to say it like it is. As we’ve stated on both our blog and our website, every submission will be told WHY it was rejected. None of that “not at this time” bullshit. So if you didn’t like the fact that we said your plot had no substance, that you lack detail, or that the writing itself needed a million-dollar makeover, get over it. At least we tried to be a bit helpful and give a reason your book didn’t make it, so maybe you could actually think about that reason, and maybe do something about it to improve your work, either to resubmit to us or to another publisher. To make it in this profession you need to build up a thick skin to get over the pile of rejection slips you’re going to get in your lifetime. Be more like the faithful Lotto players – they buy tickets every week, hoping for that big one but knowing their chances are slim. But they don’t cry at each drawing when their numbers don’t show up, do they? No. They go out the next day and buy another ticket. Try it….

Lastly, to those who said we don’t conform to what they read in a book….

….Maybe I’m just deranged, or simply “out of the loop,” but that book was written by an author (or two). Just like every other book out in the rotating world has been written by an author. Does that mean that whatever is in print is the final law? If someone came out with a self-help book telling readers they can clear acne by swimming to the bottom of the Dead Sea, does that mean it’s absolutely and undoubtedly true? …I’m sure there are a few readers out there that…

The point I’m trying to make is that there is NO absolute law when it comes to publishing. There is NO absolute law when it comes to editing fiction. Granted, there are laws when it comes to universal things like grammar and spelling, but how does one define the laws of “fiction?” Well, truth is you can’t. Experts can set guidelines and boundaries, just as experts can give out “perfect” examples of query letters on how to “hook” editors. Let me tell you something – it’s THEIR opinion on what works, or at least what has worked for them. But it’s not a steadfast rule and obviously does not work all the time. Otherwise, all those people that have supposedly read that book that doesn’t coincide with the examples and guidelines I’ve set for Leucrota Press would have been grabbed by an editor by now and wouldn’t be submitting for the umpteenth time… right?

So, back to my original point.

What is read and posted on this blog DOES pertain to Leucrota Press and it’s editors, and MIGHT pertain to a lot of other smaller publishers – especially when it comes to style, submission reports, wants and needs. So when I say the editors here hate the SAW movies and anything to do with teen angst stories, you might get another editor at another house that stays up late after the kids are in bed to read fan-fiction stories online written by bored and unbalanced 15-year olds…

It’s OUR/THEIR choice. That’s one of the beauties of having so many smaller presses, because each one has a different eye for the thousands of books out there. You just need to make sure you find and submit to the right one.


5 Responses

  1. “These opinions are by no way meant to cover every editor at every publishing house, merely ours.”

    Short story writers (those who bother to reseach) constantly see the directive, “get a sample issue”. This applies on a broader scale, really. If you wish to break into a specific market, read their publications. The stories will tell you what trips that specific editor’s trigger. And if you are trying to break into a new, just starting, market — if you cannot go by their post about what they want, and hope to impose your outlook on them, well, your work is probably as lame as your intelligence.

    This refers to those few are that dense as to have generated a post like this. For those others that are genuinely confused, just ask. Requesting clarification isn’t an imposition, and in the end only benefit both parties. It’s not like the editors are HIDING their emails, right? Granted (sorry, Ed) they can be a little slow, usually from workload, in getting back, but normally they do get back.

  2. Thank the god of editors for writers like you, Will…

  3. Based on your need to post a topic like this one, I find myself wondering what the quality of some of your submissions are like. I am not going to point fingers at any particular post on this blog–or name any names as I am sure I don’t need to– in order to make my point, but it seems some people just package up their work and send it out like buckshot blasted from the barrel of a shotgun… They seem to point it in the right general direction and hope it hits something.

    Granted, I am a newcomer to the endeavors of seeking publication, but the concept seems universal to me that if one wants to succeed in anything, they must first do their homework. For a writer, as Will already points out, researching your target markets is a must. Read EVERYTHING on their websites if they have one. Pick apart their submissions guidlines and follow them to the letter. Ask questions if you can’t find a satisfactory answer elsewhere in the information already provided by the publisher. Most of all, take into consideration that you are NOT the only person submitting work for evaluation and accept that, as much as we all wish it were different, its going to take time to receive a response to your submission. Furthermore, understand that your writing may not be as good as your mom/spouse/best friends say and that quite possibly you are going to need to dedicate A LOT of time honing your craft before any editor looks twice at your work.

    As for the “your comments are mean” sentiment? I am just looking forward to receiving feedback of any kind as opposed to the “Thanks but no thanks” that is the industry standard. In a perfect world, every tale would receive glowing marks, and every manuscript would find publication. Obviously we are no where near a perfect world. At least the editors of Leucrota try to provide insights on what it may take to bring a story around to publishing viablity.

  4. I think you have been upfront and candid about not wanting to be yet another press doing the same bland things. That of all people, the writers are complaining about it just seems…sad.

  5. Well, thanks guys. Guess it’s not just me being a demanding bitch….

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