Monday, August 10, 2009

Gearing Up

I'm now starting to think towards finally finishing The Ghost of Ping-Ling and dumping it on the creaking treadmill that is the whole submission process. My aim is to post all remaining chapters on OWW, get as much feedback as I can, and send it off around early September.

I love the book - I love the way it's grown and developed from a scratchy, badly-written satire eight years ago to where it is today. The characters and the world have evolved beyond anything I ever expected, and I'm proud of what it has become. But I have to say, I won't be sorry to put it down and move on to something else. There comes a point where you shouldn't edit any more, you can't easily improve further, and you need to stand at the front gate waving your hanky while your baby goes out into the world. Otherwise, you risk it becoming "The Book", the one that chews up years and stops you ever doing anything else, and perhaps isn't going where you thought it would, anyway.

So - this leaves me thinking about where to send it. I did some early querying a few months back, just to test the waters and get a feel for the whole process. I can now say, I know exactly what a rejection letter looks like, in various flavours. I also know how not to write a query letter. Time well spent.

This time though, I've been looking at a local publisher, Omnibus, a division of Scholastic based right here in good-old Adelaide. They have a very different submissions approach, which I initially thought was only just this side of barking-mad, but now I think might actually make sense. To submit to Omnibus, you send your manuscript. That's it. There's no query, no synopsis, just a basic cover letter giving your details and what you want them to do with the manuscript if you're not successful (ie shred it, burn it, paper the walls with it etc.). The only down side is that their current turn-around time is four months, and they expect you not to submit to any other publisher in that time.

But, here's the thing. My presumption is that if your book stinks, you won't have to wait four months before they tell you. It usually takes a matter of minutes to work that out, and normally doesn't require a reader going past the first few pages. I would have thought that if they hold on to your book for the full four months, things are looking up. Especially since, according to their website, they like to get several different people reading the submissions.

Of course, I could be totally wrong, and end up waiting four months to be told that actually, my manuscript stinks. And several people said so.

Either way, once I do get around to making the submission, this will be an absolute first for me. It will be the only time I've submitted a manuscript and dreaded getting a quick response.

I'll keep you posted.


  1. I did the same with a house in the UK, and five months later I heard no. :))) But it was the same format; send the manuscript. Pretty straight forward, but I think the length of the wait comes down to how many submissions are already in the queue.

    Good luck!

  2. Hi Anna,

    Yes - you're probably right. I think, though, if the wait went on past three months I'd be starting to submit to other houses. After that amount of time, it seems pretty unreasonable for them to expect you just to keep sitting on your hands. But then, maybe I'm totally wrong!

    I'm still very green when it comes to the publishing treadmill, it's a path I'm yet to tread.

    Thanks for the heads up!


  3. Good luck! I feel much better about the idea of sending out 50 queries...but then getting 50 rejections back vs. 1 rejection doesn't sound as great. I'm hoping to be 'finished' by Thanksgiving, December at the latest. The feedback I've gotten from OWW has been invaluable, as well. Happy checking your mailbox!