The main problem is everyone only has a certain amount of time. We sometimes feel that if we worked with an author for a while, we could eventually help them to produce something of really good quality that exactly fits our imprint. Unfortunately we probably don’t have enough hours in the day to do that nor can we be sure that an unknown author will be capable of reacting professionally to editorial comment. We’ve also got to be sure that we’ll continue to be enthusiastic enough to get behind it with our marketing efforts. So, unless we love the work rather than just liking it, it’s probably a no go.
I’m a writer too and I know how frustrating it can be to be told by an agent / publisher that they like our work but don’t love it- especially after they’ve held on to the script for several weeks. But if they say “I’m afraid we like this but don’t love it, but we‘d love to see more of your work.”, count this not as a rejection but as an almost acceptance. They have seen the potential of your work, they can see your professionalism, and they can see that you are almost there. It’s worth carrying on.
I’m currently looking at the entries for The Red Telephone 2011competition. I’ve seen some good writing and some fascinating ideas. There are of course other judges. And I have a few more to look at. There will be a winner, whatever happens, and whichever one we choose it will be easier to be enthusiastic about a novel we love.
This will become even more crucial for The Red Telephone shortly. Once the competition results are out we’ll be going into open submissions. We’ll only be publishing a few and I expect we’ll soon accumulate an impressive slush pile. At that point we can certainly have the luxury of only publishing what we really love.
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