Monday, May 18, 2009

Going Postal

Today I once again ventured into the breach. I spent the weekend polishing my next epic fantasy, First Dragon, and researching the market. I don't have an agent, so a few NY publishers are closed to me. I selected the four 'big' guys who still put out sword and sorcery and typed up query letters for each of them. Two of them had guidelines asking for the entire manuscript to be submitted and two wanted only the synopsis and the first three chapters.
All that was as normal, but keep in mind, I haven't submitted anything to these guys since Medallion Press contracted my last epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Futhark. My romance novels go to ebook publishers and all the communication, edits and submissions are online.
But not New York. One of the major fantasy publishers asked for the entire manuscript to be submitted as an attachment in an email. The other three, including the one who wanted the entire novel(all 400 pages) wanted it sent by snail mail. All three asked to have a SASE included so they could sent communication back to me. Not send my manuscript back, but send just my business size envelope back. They're all going to 'recycle' my expensive ink and paper. One even dared to say they wouldn't send it back because it would 'cost' the author too much for the return postage. The other two admitted because of a change in postage, they know had to go to the post office to return the package when before the postman would pick it up at their office.
I always reuse those chapters unless they've been wrinkled and bent. Four hundred pages are nearly a ream of paper!
So yesterday I stewed while my printer spit out the paper. I cursed when I had to put in a new ink cartridge. I growled when I raced from work to get to the post office before it closed. I nearly cried when I ran my card through the little gadget to pay the postage for those three packages.
I know most of the big NY houses now have their books available in ebook for kindle or other readers, but when are they going to get with the program in submissions? Think of the trees that could be saved? The time and gas of visiting the post office. The time and expense to the author. All these things could be put to better use.
What do you think? Will NY figure this out?


Cate Masters said...

My guess is it'll be a slow awakening, despite lagging print sales. I'm curious to see how it will all play out.
Best of luck with your submissions!

Lori M. Myers said...

I feel your pain, Susan. I think the literary world is always lagging behind technology. It took awhile for many magazines and anthologies to accept queries and short stories by email.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I know many agents take queries by email. Rejection is so much easier to handle when it comes quickly instead of my hopes building for weeks. LOL