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Friday, November 30, 2007

How to Guarantee You Will Not Be Published

Authors--ignore this post at your peril. It is a simple two-step process to guarantee you will not get your hard work published.

We received an email query letter to Savas Publishing and Consulting Group (my consulting business, the outgrowth of the original Savas Publishing). I know where it originated because of the unique email address. The prospective author (let's call him John), explained fairly well what his manuscript was about, why it was important and worthy of publication, and other pertinent information.

I sent back the following email:


Dear John,

Thanks for taking the time to write.

Please do us a favor and go to www.savasbeatie.com, and follow the submission guidelines on that site. It is the only way we can keep up with and monitor the enormous number of submissions we receive each week.

Thanks so much.


This is the email the author sent back:


A rejection slip already, and I have not even submitted anything yet. I will file this under what will likely become a long list of rejections.

P. S. the only guideline I did not follow was submitting through Outlook Express, which does not function on my Machine. I did send my query through e-mail just as you asked. I did print out your SUBMISSIONS instructions, and feel that I followed them. I provided the information you requested.

Good bye.



I posted on the submission process on November 12, 2007, and why following instructions is important not only for the author, but because of what it reveals to the acquisitions editor.

Note this paragraph from the November 12 posting: "Consequently, I have turned down many publishable manuscripts because of how authors present themselves. Unbeknownst to most writers, many of the hoops and mazes established to weed out manuscripts are also designed to weed out authors."

Unfortunately for the author, I had an immediate interest in his proposal. Until I read his response, that is. This is what I wrote back to him:


What an interesting and insightful email, John.

Savas Beatie is the publishing wing of the consulting company. The email you used was not our submission email. You did not follow our submission guidelines. And then, you argue with a publisher who actually had an interest in your manuscript.

I can see why you are getting rejections.


Argue and parse with the person who has the power to publish your manuscript. A smart, insightful strategy--if you really don't want to be published.

1 comment:

Colt Foutz said...

Very crucial point, Ted. Thanks for making it.

I guess it's a reminder to us all that although the book world is an ink-and-paper industry -- we covet that manuscript that jumps off the page -- getting the job done means dealing with flesh-and-blood: people. If you present yourself as insufferable, and show disrespect for other people's jobs and time, people won't suffer to work with you, your work won't get the respect it may deserve.

To a lesser degree, I had an experience this week with one of the students I tutor. We were doing a grammar-book flip-through exercise, and as preliminary discussion, I asked about his relationship to grammar. He said, "I don't think about it much. I figure one day, I'll be good enough, an editor will just worry about it forry me."

To which I responded, in more teacherly tones, "The good ones care enough about their writing and the editor's time to make their manuscript as clean as possible. And the benefit to both editor and writer is that they can make the improvements in the writing and breakthroughs in the editing process that only come once all the basic stuff is down cold."

Anyway, I'm enjoying the blog, and will pass word to those I know who can benefit from it.


Colt Foutz, author
Building the Green Machine:
Don Warren and Sixty Years with the World Champion Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps

December 2007 from Savas Beatie