Saturday, March 04, 2017
I was going initially to write a long rambling, semi-ranty about editorial karma, about how late last week I had an author, someone I do not really know, withdraw her manuscript from dgp's March line-up due to what she perceived as a lack of "enthusiasm" for the chapbook on my part. I wasn't quite sure how to respond, mostly since I really had nothing but enthusiasm for the project--enough to plan on investing future hours and dollars into making it happen, but apparently that was not enough I am not usually the type to fluff or over effuse--if I like something enough to want to publish it..I 'll say it straight out, but maybe I wasn't praise-worthy enough or too succint in my answers to her e-mails (we had already been talking a little bit about cover art a few days before, but weren't yet in the layout process.)
I also got the feeling she expected something else--maybe a bit more of hand-holding or critiquing and editing pre-pub . I don't really do this, being more of a curatorial sort of editor and not a critiquer/workshopper type..if I take it, I pretty much like it as/is, so barring maybe some spacial considerations and formatting or consistency as we get it print ready, I don't really seek to change the work I publish. Otherwise, I wouldn't accept it in the first place if it was in need of revisions. It's not my editorial style, nor I imagine what most of my author, who are pretty confident in their abilities, want at this stage in the process. Maybe she was expecting something else and in that case, she really should go somewhere else who does approach editing in that way.
Luckily, she backed out before I actually had begun the layout process (but in my stories of snafus, that too has happened in a couple cases where the author decided they weren't happy with the poems anymore and wanted to scrap them (and in at least one case, sent me another project to consider that I loved.) I also once had an author balk that our covers were cardstock and not glossy and perfectbound, which apparently she did not realize until she actually ordered one of our books. Sso there was no winning that one. I tend to be very flexible and informal with publication agreement, so no formal contracts, only written e-mail agreements (mostly since all rights go back to the author upon publication.) I also wouldn't want anyone beholden to publishing their book with the press if they really didn't want to be there. Why would I?
Ideally, if someone needs to bow out--they do so early on as possible. I've occasionally had situations where we've mutually decided not to go forward if a chapbook was accepted and due out as a full-length or there was a simsub snafu and it won a contest or something after the fact. Sometimes, projects get rolled into other projects. Usually, if I like the authors work, I'll try to find a way to either work something out or take on something else they have available that I also love.
I spent most of Friday afternoon mostly just being hurt and cranky and wondering how anyone could imagine that I am not enthusiastic about the books I work on (you know, despite 6 million other obligations in the way of my day job and my own creative work that I am working around to make those books happen hell or highwater) It was sort of that feeling that you are doing so much, far beyond what could be reasonable expected of you if you weren't quite so crazy, far beyond what you should do for your health and general sanity, and somehow, even that is not enough for some people.
That is, I felt that way until I opened up my facebook messages that afternoon to find another amazing author (whose work had very recently appeared in wicked alice and to very enthusiastic response from not just me, but other readers.) querying whether or not I might like to see a manuscript. And I was a little OMGOMGOMG! YES! (but I tried to play it cool..lol) So rather than a long, ranty-post, you get a short mini ramt and then I will instead direct you to the work of the amazing writer who will likely be filling the empty slot. So even when interactions are kind of hurtful and far from ideal, 99.9% of authors are absolutely amazing and lovely. And this makes the rest of it worth it....