A lovely rejection letter

13 February 2012 / Leave a Comment
I had been hanging all my hopes on a certain Melbourne independent publisher, that they would publish my 70,000 word novel Searching for Von Honningsbergs. But today I got the the dreaded rejection letter (email). However, it was a lovely rejection letter, it filled my heart with joy and kept alive my hope. It said:


Apologies for taking so long. It's a good book, but have been inundated with fiction submissions. Have had to make some tough decisions and have decided not to proceed with your novel. Wish we could do more, but not possible at this stage. I do wish you every success with it as it certainly deserves to be published.


How nice is that? I mean, I wish that he would just publish my book, but since he can't it is nice to be offered some kind words of encouragement, rather than the 'does not fit with our current list' line.


Before Christmas I had come across SPUNC - Small Press Underground Networking Community (http://spunc.com.au/). It was like a revelation to me - there is a healthy number of small independent presses around Australia that are publishing quality fiction. Perhaps one of them would publish my book? So I carefully selected two independent publishers in Australia to send my book to.


I also came across the Independent Publishers Guild in the UK (http://spunc.com.au/) and sent my book off to a couple of publishers over there. I know, I performed the cardinal sin in publishing of sending my manuscript off to more than one publisher at a time. But if I was to do it properly, it would mean I could only send off 4 submissions a year. And when it's taken me quite a few years to get to this point, I didn't quite have the patience for that.


However, it was this publisher, that I heard from today, that I had really hoped would publish my book.  I had thought that off all the publishers that I had sent my manuscript to, that this one would be the best fit. Well ... it almost was!


In 2007 this novel, previously titled Eureka, was longlisted for the Australian Vogel Award. Allen & Unwin sent me a letter saying that while it was not selected for the shortlist it was one of the few books that Allen & Unwin would be reading for further consideration. Unfortunately, 3 months or so later, I found out that they had ultimately decided not to go ahead with it. But I was lucky enough to be given the judges' comments, as well as feedback from a readers assessment that Allen & Unwin organised. These comments have been invaluable to me while I've been re-working the novel over the past 5 years.


So, it seems that I have come close again, but not quite close enough. Perhaps third time lucky? Who knows...

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