T’is a cruel world, sometimes. This dropped into my in-box yesterday.
Dear Ms Buxton
Thank you for the opportunity to read 'Glass Houses'. It is a beautifully written novel and an absolute pleasure to read. Your characters are alive - exquisitely so - and the story driving the novel pulses. Tori's situation is touching and current; it evokes empathy and concern in the reader yet somehow shies away from dominating the emotional appeal of other characters.
I have discussed this work at length with my colleagues and although we are undisputedly impressed with the strength of the writing, and though we do believe there is a market for the work, we do not feel it will sit comfortably on our lists going forward. In recent years we have been forced to reduce our lists and as a result we are becoming increasingly selective – and sometimes harsh – about the acquisition of new titles.
I’m sorry this isn’t the response you were hoping for, but thank you for thinking of [Publisher]. We wish you luck in finding a home for your work elsewhere and may I offer my congratulations for your literary successes thus far.
Generally, I’d sooner eat strawberry jelly with pips in than post my failings but I do realise that when my first submission passed over the post office counter, with its heavy dose of longing and anticipation and a sprinkling of fairy dust, I’d have been ecstatic to have got this response. I am buoyed by the fact that a publisher sees a market for it and that the characters had the desired effect. I've had some great feedback in response to a reading of the full manuscript before but none where I was quite so close to touching a 'yes' with my fingertips. I will submit Glass Houses again today. I have the small matter of approximately 30,000 words of the first draft of my second novel to write before my self-imposed deadline of February 2012 so have absolutely no time for wallowing. This publishing lark may oscillate between cruel and uplifting but at least it’s never, ever dull.