And I said, in response to
the original post, to send that tardy publisher a note saying
since it was taking so long, she'd be submitting elsewhere,
in addition to waiting for feedback from them.
Let me tell you where I'm coming from. I had a manuscript
at HarperCollins years ago. The editor loved it. I didn't
hear from her for MONTHS and MONTHS but she was fighting for
the book the whole time. I mean whole heartedly fighting to
get the book published, all those months. I finally heard
from her nine months after I'd submitted, asking if she could
take it with her to Simon & Schuster where she was going
to work. I agreed. She fought for it THERE for months and
Point is, she wasn't ignoring me, ever. She was fighting for
Now, imagine if she finally won the argument, only to find
I'd sold it elsewhere. Would she fight so hard for the NEXT
book? Probably not. But if I'd said, "Hey, editor, since
it's not selling, I'm going to simultaniously submit, just
in case your guys say no." At least she'd feel informed,
right? I wouldn't burn that bridge.
But if I sold it without even telling her, there could be
some damage done to the budding relationship. Indicentally,
I did eventually sell it elsewhere. But the editor and I are
still friends. I can turn to her anytime for any legitimate
It doesn't take long to TELL an editor you're going to send
a manuscript to other houses. So why not error on the side
of being polite and informative, just in case? What could
One more real story to explain my stance. I talked to an editor
friend I know this past January at ALA in Seattle, and this
very subject came up. She told me about a writer who had sold
a book out from under her without telling her right as she'd
FINALLY gotten the green light to publish it. Again, she'd
FOUGHT for the book all those months.
She said she understood, that the delay had been a long one.
But she also said she wished she'd been informed. Because
now she had to go back to the editorial committee, after fighting
like a tiger to get a yes, and tell them the book was sold.
She looked uninformed because she was uninformed.
You could say, "It's her own fault, she took too long,"
and she'd probably agree with you. But if an editor loves
your work THAT much, is willing to fight for it, isn't she
an ally worth keeping? What about the next book? Why not TELL
her, if you decide to submit elsewhere?
That editor also told me she thinks writers forget editors
are human too. She said she wished she could correct that
perception, because they're disappointed when the books they
fight for aren't contracted, the same way the writer is. And
i think that's worth noting.
So much of this business is about relationship -- personal
connection in a professional arena. You can't sell your soul,
and you DO have to look out for yourself first. But courtesy
never costs that much. It's almost always a good idea.
So I still say, with all due respect, that if it were me,
I'd TELL the editor I planned to submit the manuscript elsewhere.
That 30 seconds invested seem like a worthwhile insurance
policy to me.
Now, back to work for me.