Monday, June 4, 2007


Since my last cranky rant, I finally managed to get in the groove and get some things done! Not everything, since that's quite impossible, but I got my website updated, completed my notes for my HNS panel, fixed the wireless connection on my laptop, answered about a million emails, watched a cute but stupid Hugh Grant movie with DH, cleaned my house, and had some neighbors over for dinner. I even survived the eye infection that left me looking like a cyclops for a couple of days. It's just as well that my eye isn't swollen any more because my doctor has been tinkering with my thyroid medication, and presently, I'm so hoarse I would probably be easier to understand if I were to just bark like a dog. ARF!

I leave for the HNS Conference in two days, so all of this is a huge relief (well, except for the part about barking like a dog).

Of course, it would have been a bigger relief if only the United States postal service weren't such massive shits. Media mail was the most popular shipping option for our books; it's gone now, and our shopping cart system is totally wrecked. Oh well; as a famous Southern Belle once said, "I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow."

My HNS panel is about finding the right publisher, so that's what I'm going to think about in the near future (like now). It's funny how there are so many venues devoted to instructing would-be authors in "how to get published," but from what I can tell, not very many seem to provide a critical piece of information: how to find the RIGHT publisher. [Hint: It doesn't help an author's case to suggest that the right publisher is anyone willing to publish their book!]

Seriously, I'm mystified by the number of queries I receive for books I would never even consider publishing. It's a waste of my time to deal with them, but it's also a waste of the author's time to send them, sometimes repeatedly. Not to mention that it's a MAJOR irritant to receive the same query more than once, and I do keep a record of the queries I get.

Whenever asked, I've always been clear that we publish historical fiction and alternate history and that's it. The thing I don't understand is why someone would query me about a techno thriller, a spy novel, a Christian romance, a children's story, a nonfiction book about lesbian culture, etc. Do these authors not understand that even were we to suddenly decide to publish other genres, with no experience in a particular market, we wouldn't have a chance in hell of being able to sell their books? Do they not understand that if we were to publish them, we'd be confirming our own stupidity? Do they really want a stupid publisher? Really?

It's utterly maddening -- I'm almost to the point of responding to queries by asking for a detailed description of the author's favorite of our books -- assuming they've read at least one of them, which, of course, they have not. It's obvious they haven't or they wouldn't waste time querying, but why on earth would they think we'd publish them when they haven't even bothered to find out who we are?

Maybe I need to set up an automated form on our web site.

1) Is your book fiction or nonfiction?

Fiction: Sends them forward
Nonfiction: Sends them to a "thanks but no thanks" page

2) Select the period in which your novel is set:

Prior to 1500 CE: Forward
1500 - 1900 CE: Forward
1900 - 1950: Forward to a different set of questions
1950 - Present: Thanks but no thanks

Something to think about...


Gillian said...

That form is a really good idea . If you only accepted submissions with a particular final cover page attached, and that coverpage included all the stuff you need to track submissions you could save work as well as diminish submissions.

Best of luck for HNS. I'm preparing my talk and various panels for Convergence right now.

See you on the other side :).

Doubtful Muse said...

Good luck to you too. May the force be with you. *g*

Tess said...

Glad to hear things are going better :) Well, except for your voice.

And I just don't get the postal service in the US - have they really NO IDEA how many businesses and people were so dependent on the media mail option. Seems ridiculous to me to get rid of it.

Alas, I'm not sure if the form would help any. People would just answer they way they thought you wanted and send the children's picture book anyway.