Right to (a) Reply

I don’t often do requests, but a fellow writer who has browsed this blog recently took me to task. He said I was being less than honest about those agents and publishers which have been a little tardy, neglectful or outspoken with their communications.

I maintained – and still do – that it’s not only unprofessional to name names, but it’s hardly a proven employment strategy. However, as a halfway house – and to provide a little amusement – here’s a little update of my recent writing adventures, presented as…. The Face Slap awards 2010,

THE ‘YOU MATTER TO US’ AWARD – Novel submission 5th Feb 2009. I contacted them for an update four months later and a month after that I got an email from ‘slushmaster’ to say they’d accidentally deleted my submission. Seven months after my submission, they rejected it because, ‘They liked it but didn’t love it’.

THE ‘CONSIDERATE AGENT’ AWARD – Novel synopsis Jan 2009. Phone message left four months later. I subsequently sent them in three chapters and, over the eight month hiatus, left a phone message and subsequently sent a registered letter. At this point I got an email back to say they’d sent my material back months before. Needless to say, I never received it.

THE ‘FRUGAL STATIONERY’ AWARD – Novel submission – rejected two months later with a badly photocopied strip, about an eighth of an A4 page, that began ‘Dear Writer’.

THE ‘RIGHT IN THE KISSER’ AWARD – Novel submission – rejected three months later with: “…we regret to inform you that it’s not what we would consider publishing. We are looking for refreshing new writers who can deliver new and exciting work. We felt that your novel was an old take in a genre that has been stale for a long time.” Ouch!

THE ‘ECONOMIC DOWNTURN’ AWARD – Novel submission query Nov 2009. Feb 2010 reply to say they’re starting a fiction imprint, but the author has to purchase 150 copies- I ask for more details of their projected sales and distribution, etc. Two months later, without a response, I send in three chapters and my original queries. Three months later I leave them a phone message. Three months after that, I send a registered letter requesting the return of my material. A month later, still no response – they’re obviously in need of my stamps.

And finally, as recently as today…

THE ‘SHOULDER SHRUG’ AWARD – Humour submission by email 24/03. Phone call four months later – they found the email and realised it hadn’t been opened. Four months later, emailed for an update. One month later, phoned and was told ‘We only publish three humour books a year so… like… we’ve already got our quota…”


  1. motheroad says:

    These people are all deranged lunatics, and should be hurt – I mean, just a little, not enough to maim. But enough to make them very, very uncomfortable. Something subtle. Like, maybe if their afternoon cuppa was about 300 degrees too hot.

  2. Derek says:

    I looked up 'restraint' in a US dictionary and there was a picture of you beside it!

  3. Derek says:

    Maybe! It's always been a buyer's market and perhaps it's even more so in the current climate. I accept that their first priority is to run their business, but that's no excuse for shoddy treatment. Now, where's that tea urn…

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