Right now I have two main projects that I am working on, Eisenstrasse, which is going well, and The Worms Of Heaven, which isn’t. To be honest, I haven’t done any significant work on Worms in a while.
I realize that I am still upset–really upset–about the response that I got from the publisher that I queried way back when.
My plan for The Book Of Lost Doors was to find a publisher to re-issue Catskinner’s Book and Cannibal Hearts, and to publish Worms Of Heaven when I complete it. The idea was to offer a publisher a series that was already begun and had something of a following.
When I first sent off Catskinner’s Book, I explained this and included the first several chapters (I think it was 20 pages, which would have been all of the first two and part of chapter three.) I received back a gushing reply within two hours–“I love it, please send the full manuscript!”
Then I got an e-mail saying that they had a large backlog and not to expect anything back for 4 to 6 weeks. Fair enough, I waited 8 weeks, then sent a follow up.
I got a reply, “I can’t take on this project, but I gave it to our new editor who is really excited, so you’ll hear something in a week or so.”
I waited two more weeks and sent in another follow-up.
“Your manuscript is an unreadable mess, and you MUST rewrite it entirely, changing this, that, and the other thing before we could even consider looking at it.”
Huh? What happened between the time I sent you the sample and now? The part that I got back, full of notations about what I need to change, was the original sample I sent in all those months ago. So if it’s an unreadable mess, why on Earth did you ask for the full manuscript? Did you think that the first 20 pages were terrible, but maybe page 21-240 would be so good that they’d make up for it?
Seriously. What. The. Fuck?
Honestly, I don’t want to even try sending out the manuscript again. Because this is not the first time I’ve had correspondence with a publisher that has followed this pattern. It’s been pretty much the same drill from every publisher I’ve talked to.
We LOVE it!
Follow-up letter, then:
This is TERRIBLE, don’t waste our time!
It’s gotten to the point where I’m scared to send out any queries. And it’s clear that self-publishing is not ever going to make enough money to pay for the editing that these books need.
So my feeling with Worms Of Heaven is why bother? Why spend my time writing a book that I know in advance I’ll lose money on? I’d rather spend my evenings watching TV and relaxing.
I did, however, get a response from a short story collection that I submitted a story to back in February. I had forgotten all about it–I had to did through my documents file to find the story I had sent in and reread it, because I couldn’t remember what it was.
It’s a good story, actually. It’s a horror story, and it gave me chills to read it again. I’m glad it’s going to get some exposure, but it’s a collection that doesn’t pay. Still and all, getting an actual acceptance from a publisher was nice.
So what am I going to do? I’ll finish Worms, I do have people that want to read it. I’ll edit it myself, and no doubt do a horrible job just like I did on the others, and self-publish it. A couple of dozen people will read it and like it, and tell me that. And I guess that will be enough to keep me going.