Last month, as you all know, I wrote about my thoughts concering Harper Voyager opening itself up for direct submissions until October 14th. I could have easily hit that deadline and had Under the Darkened Moon edited and formatted. And for a few weeks I was seriously contemplating doing just that and submitting my novel for consideration.
However, after much thought, I have decided not to take advantage of the opportunity. Yes, even thought his opportunity may not come around again to directly submit to Harper Voyager. Some people might think that it is foolish for me pass up any opportunity. But, as I have learned in my life, just because opportunities present themselves does not mean all should be jumped at. I’ve had my fair share of opportunities that I took simply because they were opportunities and have been left holding the proverbial bag.
Ultimately, my decision to not submit comes down to several factors. Some of these factors are things that Harper Voyager themselves said and promoted. For example, the fact that they were very eager to point out that they would accept previously self-published books weighed heavily on my decision. They went out of their way, in my opinion, to point this out in their release announcing their open submissions. After talking it over with several other budding authors and people in the publishing industry, my fears that I stated in my original post only became more and more justified.
“It would be a smart move on Harper Voyager’s part to look long and hard at established e-book authors. If someone was able to sell 1,000 or 2,000 copies of their books alone, without the support of a big company promoting them, it stands to reason that maybe, just maybe, once HarperCollins steps in they can do even better with the work in question. The issue however is will Harper Voyager give a higher weight to these sorts of authors over the truly green author who has not even gone the route of e-publishing yet?
… I can’t say for sure. But I know that if I were Harper Voyager I would be.” – Mathias Cavanaugh
Most I talked with seem to me in deep agreement that, while Harper Voyager may not be exclusively looking for established e-book authors, they would be very, very smart to focus on such authors. As someone without even a published e-book to my name, I would not get as thorough of consideration as others.
Look, publishing is a business. Harper Voyager is in this to make money. One of the best ways to make money is acquire talent that is already proven to make money.
The other big factor was something else that I opined about in my original post. I said:
“This bothers me and has also tempered my enthusiasm. Harper Voyager says that, “We’re actively seeking speculative fiction genres, especially epic fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, horror, dystopia, supernatural and YA.”
They are covering a whole gambit of genres. This seems like a shotgun approach to get as many submissions as possible. I am sure that they are not equally interested in all of these genres and there are some preferences to some over others. It is also vague as to whether or not they are going to seek to print a certain number of each or just the absolute best regardless of category. The later rewards talent, the former rewards talent, but also requires luck and leaves some talent invariably discarded.” – Mathias Cavanaugh
Couple this with Harper Voager talking about how resubmitting previously submitted, but rejected works, was not allowed unless the previously submitted work has had extensive re-editing? Making no allowance for why it was rejected, such as quotas? I see myself potentially shut out of Harper Voyager for my story IF they ever open up for general, direct submissions again. Because with thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of submissions, I don’t care for those odds right off the bat.
I know the argument about how the cream always rises to the top. First off, I know that that is not always the case. I’ve read plenty of garbage that has been published by major publishing houses and plenty of wonderful stories that had to be e-published after being rejected by them. Secondly, I am under no delusions that my work is necessarily part of the “cream”.
So, yes, I will not be directly submitting this time around. I would rather have an advocate, a literary agent, pitching my work than be lost in flood of submissions. For me personally, I think it is the right choice. Now all I have to do is get a little more editing done and find that literary agent.
However, as I said in my original post, I think that for established e-book authors this is a wonderful oportunity to take a bite at the apple. If you have published books and had success after being rejected over and over again by literary agents, I think you have nothing to lose by getting your manuscript in to Harper Voyager before their looming deadline.