Last night I decided to pop open the submissions folder on my Sony (the main reason I love the Sony over the Kindle, because I can HAVE a submissions folder) and realized that I hadn’t loaded recent submissions on there, so most of them I could delete most of them. One I couldn’t remember if I’d read so I gave it a glance. After the prologue, I realized that I had already looked at it, and though the premise was interesting, the writing was unpolished, there were too many technical errors for me to consider taking it on (because while I’m willing to correct some in edits, I can’t afford to take the time to edit a book that’s flush with them), the dialogue was awkward, and there were some things that didn’t quite make sense within the story.
But I liked the premise, enough that I decided to keep reading just for the heck of it, and see where it led. About halfway into the book, I decided that, instead of rejecting, I’d offer the author a revise and resubmit letter. Which, if you know anything about me, you know I’m not totally keen on because I so very rarely see those books returned (and I do mean rarely). But I thought the author might have promise, could clearly craft a unique premise, and I’d do my part to help her along.
This morning, when I opened my spreadsheet, I found that I’d marked this book to receive a rejection letter but hadn’t sent it yet. When I read it the first time, the obvious errors and all the issues I noted above meant that I was going to reject it. Being in a more generous frame of mind last night, I decided to give the author a chance with a revise and resubmit letter. Let me tell you, that doesn’t happen very often and really, it shouldn’t have to.
Of course, every author hopes that every editor and agent will do this every single time with their book, but the fact is, it’s up to the author to make sure the book doesn’t need a second chance because it’s entirely likely it won’t get one. So yes, state of mind matters, but it’s the author’s job to make sure that the book shines through and wins despite the editor/agent’s state of mind. Because that’s the only thing the author has control over. You can’t tell the editor/agent to only read your book when they’re not overwhelmed by work, ticked off by some correspondence they’ve just read, or getting ready for vacation. Truth is, there is always something going on in the editor/agent’s life. Don’t make it easy for them to say no. Make it easy for them to say yes!