Submitting Like a Man

Steven Harper PiziksI found this blog extremely interesting.

The short version is, an editor realized that when she rejected a manuscript but said she liked the author’s work and wanted to see more of it, male writers were more likely to send something else right away, while female authors often waited months to submit something–or never submitted anything at all.  Men, the editor muses, seem to be more focused on getting their work in front of an editor, while women read too much into the editor’s letter: “Is it rude to send something else right away? Will I seem desperate?  Maybe I should wait a while so I don’t seem pushy.”  And then they don’t submit, or they wait so long to submit, the editor forgets who they are.

Let me chime in to say: DON’T WAIT.  If an editor rejects you with a letter that basically says, “This isn’t what we’re looking for, but I like your work and would like to see more,” the unwritten addition is, “and do it now, before I forget who the heck you are.”

Editors (and agents) are sumptuously busy.  They receive hundreds, even thousands, of manuscripts every month.  If one pauses to say she likes your writing, YOU HAVE HER EAR!  But it won’t last long.  All that busy-ness will overwhelm her shortly, and she’ll completely forget that delightful little piece you wrote about your grandmother’s hilarious hoarding habit.

“But,” you ask, “if my writing was so delightful and she liked it so much, why did she reject THIS piece?”

Who knows?  Maybe it was too long or too short for her current inventory.  Maybe your protagonist was a were-kitten, and she already has a whole bunch of were-kitten stories and can’t use another one for a couple years.  Maybe you sent an historical fantasy piece, and they don’t publish historical fantasy.  Maybe the writing was almost there, and the editor thinks your next piece might make it.  Ultimately, WHY DO YOU CARE?  Send the next freakin’ piece, and send it NOW!

Look, a manuscript is your job interview with an editor (or agent).  Based on your work, the editor will decide whether or not to hire you.  If you had applied at a traditional job and at the conclusion the interviewer said, “You’re not quite what we need for this position, but I like your qualifications, and we have another job coming up that might fit.  You should apply for it,” what would you do?  A) Wonder if it’s too pushy to apply for the job right away and decide to wait a few months instead; or B) Rush down to Human Resources to make sure your application lands on the interviewer’s desk within the hour?


Send something else, and send it NOW.

–Steven Harper Piziks

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Submitting Like a Man — 1 Comment

  1. Funny thing: last night after reading this post, I had a conversation with a young female relative who expressed this very same fear of being “annoying,” as she put it. I showed her the blog and told her to stop worrying so much about what she thinks other people might be thinking – if they’re truly bothered, they’ll let her know. I think seeing the issue laid out from a professional viewpoint made a big difference.

    Thanks for this.