Thursday, April 2, 2009

Submitting to other editors within a house

So, you got a rejection from one editor. Can you send it to another editor within the same house?


And the same holds true with agents. Let me explain.

If a publisher has reviewed your manuscript, you have to know that, in all likelyhood, that editor has discussed the idea with the other editors. Along the same lines, that editor is representing the company when he or she reads your project. When that person says no to a project, it is not the single editor but the publishing company in general.

Now, is there a chance you submitted to the wrong editor? Sure. But again that goes back to the same thing I have talked about before. Take the time to review and research the people you are submitting to before you mail that package off.

As I also said, the agents work the same way. In this case, these agents have talked to each other. When a project comes in, if that agent doesn't think he or she will be able to represent it, for what ever reason, the project will be passed around. Sometimes this is done simply because one agent might have a full plate already. Again, the rule still applies. The agency said no.

I should also note that just changing the title isn't enough. Even though we receive a ton of submissions, we do remember and many of us keep extensive data bases about your projects. You won't be able to slip an old manuscript though the cracks to us without us catching it.

Sorry, but again, there isn't a way around this one.



  1. Question:

    If a writer queried a particular house, say ten years ago, and a junior editor requested the full after reading the partial but the writer was unable to send the full for whatever reason (I don't like excuses) let’s just say that it never got there and the writer stopped submitting work for the decade. But now 'said writer', who is able to submit work again, sees that the junior Editor is the head acquisitions Editor in that house today - would you recommend that the writer revisit their history and detail how things were left to him directly? Or would you think that cold calling the work on the merit of its content by another query is the way to go? I mean, what if the Editor remembers the story? I wouldn't think so after so much time has elapsed...but if they keep a detailed database, like you said. Are we talking email address here? Do you think mentioning or not to mention is a benefit or detriment in this case?

    I kind of view this as a catch 22 situation in that if you detail the history to the Editor, he may think you are unreliable as you didn’t get the work into him when asked before - but if you don’t and it somehow comes to light that you had submitted this project previously? UGH! Do you have any thoughts on this type of situation?

  2. Murphy,

    Honesty is the best policy. If you submitted to an editor a long time ago and never followed up, be honest and let them know why. Of course if it was because you weren't ready, that might not be so cool, but if you had something from outside the writing life that pulled you away, there shouldn't be any problem.

    Submit the manuscript using normal routes. This means starting from the beginning again. No, you can not call this a requested submission any more.

    Also, take the time to review their standards again. 10 years is a long time and a lot of changes happen along the way. Make sure that the editor is still looking for that type of material. Also, make sure the publisher has not shifted to Agent only submissions. If that is the case, you can not submit.

    Hope that helps.


  3. Thanks for your prompt response. This helps immensely.

    To clarify though, I wasn't thinking in terms of submitting this as a requested submission. I wouldn't have thought that anyone would do such a thing after so long, but then? You felt the need to mention it so I guess people will do those kind of things...amazing! I was thinking about contacting, (via a more detailed query), the Editor who I dealt with originally, as this house has broadened the genre I'm talking about and too, they do accept unagented submissions.

    Truth be told? I would rather do a regular query approach. But now I'm worried about the email address trail thing after reading your detailed blog post. It was this that got me to thinking about the, thanks for that. Really. I thrive on stress!

    All kidding aside, this is good information to have and I greatly appreciate you taking the time to share it.

  4. I guess there is fine line that shouldn't be crossed. I must admit that I spruced up a MS, changed the location, title and character names and sent it to the same publisher again. When the rejection came it said that this story was too similar to my other one. I guess someone keeps tabs on these things.:(