Monday, February 9, 2009

To Pitch Or Not To Pitch

Recently I've added Deborah Kalin to my list of favourite authors, after reading her newly released book Shadow-Queen. I saw a blurb about this book in the paper a few weeks ago and decided to buy it, and thought it was one of the best fantasies I've read in ages. I was interested to read her background, how she submitted her work to a thing called the 'Friday Pitch'. Apparently certain enlightened publishers have set up this system so that wannabe-authors can submit a sample of their work (but only on a friday – hence the name - clever people these publishers) and if the publishers like it they ask for more. That means the writers are requesting some form of informed feedback, and getting it (insert drumroll) within a week. Did you read that? Within a week. The very thought makes me go weak at the knees (yes, still waiting for my assessor report). On investigating further, however, I found that the website of this particular publisher specifies they're not after young-adult's or children's fiction, which I found a tad annoying. But last week, during a bored moment at work, I googled Random-House, publisher of the Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flannagan. I was surprised to see they have a similar system, which in this case includes works pitched at young-adults. You send off a one paragraph synopsis, a 250 word sample of the manuscript, and if they like what they see they ask you for more. It was extremely, extremely tempting. I even spent time this morning writing up the submission email, and it's sitting happily in my drafts folder, just a button push away from being sent.

The problem is, I would be insane to send it now. I've just spent $520 dollars getting a professional to assess the work, and I haven't even had the benefit of reading what she had to say. I am certain she will identify all kinds of problems that can be fixed, and that would be wasted if I've already sent it off to the powers that be. Apparently you can't send the same manuscript to a publisher twice, no matter what changes to it you've made. Bugger.

But at least now I know what to do with the manuscript once I actually do get the assessment back. And if I can only still my itchy email finger it's certain I'll be sending something far more professional and polished than what I would be sending today.

So, I need to patient, and I need to keep waiting. Things that don't come easily to me, it would seem.

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