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On rejecting submissions

I've been neglecting this journal and I'm sorry for that. I recently was talking about this particular space and about how I don't think I've used it its full potential. I might try doing that for the next little while - using it as more of the Twelfth Planet Press space and carving that content out of my personal blog at girliejones. Managing your online presence is a constant balancing act.

I'm currently nose to the grindstone for Twelfth Planet Press. I'm working on the final two titles to be released for 2010 which weren't quite ready to come out at Worldcon. They are both novella doubles - The Company Articles of Edward Teach/The Angaelian Apocalypse and Above/Below. They're both in their very very final stages before going to the printer. Now it's really just in the final proofing and final tweaking of the laid out manuscripts. And I always forget just how long finishing and signing off books takes. I'm hoping the first of these will go to the printer's before I head off to World Fantasy Con on Wednesday. Hey, it could happen! And I'll take Above/Below with me to work on whilst I'm away - hopefully I'll have internet access to work back and forth with Amanda.

But having the final two books still on my work books means I am currently working on 19 titles - I have 17 titles scheduled for 2011, with the Twelve Planets counting as 12 titles. It's been interesting so far, workload wise and I think there will be several posts to come discussing this and a couple of other aspects of growing a press.

At the moment though, what's on my mind is the process of buying those 17 titles. Most of them are in fact bought and filled, I've been working on the 2011 lineup for most of this year. But some of them have been notional - I want to keep the novella series ongoing, for example, so I knew I would have one, I just hadn't bought a work for it up until a couple of weeks ago.

It's no secret that I have writers whose work I love and whom I love working with. Having the chance to work on new projects with them is a lot of the reason why I still show up at TPP every day. I love the process of working back and forth on a new project or them dropping me something new to read to see what I think. I love peering over their shoulders on their latest works and seeing where they're up to or where they're taking their work. The bit I've been really not liking is turning down work by writers whom I love. It's actually quite an odd feeling to come across a piece by a writer you adore and finding that it just doesn't work for you or that you don't think it's up to what they usually write or that it's actually not quite there. And in the past month or so as I've been working my way through the very large pile of submissions that have been waiting for me to get to since long before Worldcon, I've been having to write some rejection notes. More than a few. And yet again, I am struck by what it means to be a professional. Without exception, these writers will actually meet these rejections with "oh thank goodness you [agree/you don't just buy all my work, you actually like the work of mine that you buy/you noticed that wasn't quite working/see it too, yes this has been giving me trouble]". And never once do you get those other reactions, that less professional writers will give you. Reinforcing of course, the enjoyment of the process when working with the right people.

Working on The Twelve Planets has been really interesting in terms of having 4 pieces by the one writer next to each other. I guess it's no different from a full single author collection, especially one that includes 4 to 6 new works. But in those you still pepper the new work in between the reprints. Here, it's 4 new pieces up alongside each other. The weakest work, the trunk thrown in or the one story that didn't quite get there on time, really stands out as noticeable. I'm really enjoying this editorial process as I'm really learning a lot.