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Monday, June 29, 2009

Sign Of The Times

This afternoon I was talking on the phone to a friend and fellow author when she pulled up something on the internet I'd never seen before. Even though she read it off the screen to me, I had to go take a look for myself. It was submission guidelines for emailing a query, synopsis, and complete manuscript to one of the mass market print pubs. Yes, you read that correctly. Dorchester is now taking unsolicited submissions of entire manuscripts via email.

I realize this isn't exactly earth shattering news, but I'm amazed and a little bit dumbfounded.

Back during the Stone Age, when I first ventured into the romance writing community--before YahooGroups even--every bit of contact with editors and agents was done via snail mail. It was a slow, torturous process. In fact, it took forever. I remember the turnaround time on the very first partial I submitted was one year. An entire year. For a partial. Can you imagine?

Anyway, it wasn't long before the internet got its hooks into everyone. YahooGroups came into existence, and all the loops and groups shortly followed. I remember when agents first started taking email queries. It was only a handful at first, then more and more. Now, it's unusual to run across an agent who doesn't take an email query. And it's great. Sometimes, you get a reply with a request or a "no, thank you" within an hour or two instead of a week or two.

During the anthrax scare right after 9/11, Avon went to email queries only. Now, other NY pubs have joined in and put their addresses online and invited queries, too. But today was the first time I've ever seen one of the major romance print publishers invite submissions of entire manuscripts via email attachment. And unsolicited, for Pete's sake! How great would it be if all publishers did this? (Yes, I know. Harlequin allows unsolicited email subs for their shorts that are aimed for digital publishing. This is a whole nother ballgame.) Just think of the postage that would be saved, not to mention not having to stand in line at the post office to mail those bulky Priority envelopes.

Anyway, I'm tempted to email something to Dorchester just to mark the occasion. I wonder if they send out that same crappy, faded, Xeroxed form rejection for email submissions. If I find out, I'll let you know. That thing is the pits. ;o)



  1. Huh, interesting. That seems like a big step for them. It's surprising that they're taking whole manuscripts though. Crazy...

  2. Hi Devon. I read that, too, and found it very interesting. I'm all for email submissions! I love it and am glad that more and more larger pubs are doing it as well. But yes, it is a big step when they are asking for the entire kit and kaboodle, rather than a query. Interesting!

  3. I admit I was startled when I first saw it and wondered what they were thinking inviting all those unsoliticed subs. But after thinking about it, maybe they've got the right idea. I mean, they have to look at queries anyway. So if they run across a query they're interested in, they've already got the entire ms. in hand, so to speak, via attachment. Less physical clutter in the office, less wait time. So maybe more pubs will start doing this. We can hope.

  4. That sounds promising,I think you are right. If they have the whole kit-caboodle on file, it saves a lot of time and messing about for all involved. Thanks for sharing the info.

  5. Glynis, you're very welcome. :o) I'm hoping more of the big publishers will adopt this submission process.


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