It’s been a while since I reached into my pile of rejection letters, so I thought I would go ahead and do that again. This time the random letter picker told me to pull something out of the “J” slot, which hasn’t got very much in it, “J” being one of the less commonly used letters in the English language. But it does have a Jabberwocky.
No, not that Jabberwocky. This one:
Now as it turns out I pulled this rejection about three years ago, but that time I didn’t notice that I also had an “invitation to submit” letter for Dragon Stones, which includes this most interesting footnote:
Back when I was actively trying to get an agent, you would see all the time where they would say “no multiple submissions” in their guidelines — basically asking for the exclusive right to, as Mr. Mancino implies, sit on your manuscript for months while no one else looks at it. Mr. Mancino is having none of it. In this respect he echoes advice I read in other writer-centric books and magazines back in the day, which generally advised to ignore the “exclusive submission” guideline and multiply submit anyway, rightly pointing out that the odds of receiving multiple acceptances for a given work were pretty small, and that by enforcing an artificial scarcity of consideration for representation, the writer could be adding months if not years to the process of publication. That might not be a big deal for most genre fiction, but for a work that has appeal that may diminish over time (say non-fiction related to a specific moment, or even some fiction, such as Room, which came out around the time that several high-profile cases involving long-term kidnappings were making headlines), such a delay could be the difference between something that catches the public’s attention and something that disappears into the publishing pond with barely a ripple. So good on you, Mr. Mancino, for not only accepting but encouraging multiple submissions! That makes me think you were looking out for the writer, even ones you didn’t represent, and I probably would have enjoyed working with you. Although things turned out okay in the end for Dragon Stones, which did indeed find a more enthusiastic reception in other quarters a few years later …