Starting a press as writers homegrown from this #WritingCommunity has given us special empathy for transparency.

Today we've felt a lot of emotion and indecision with a lot of our "maybe" subs, and our first thought was, "We've got to show writers what's behind this curtain."
You hear all the time that acceptances are subjective, not personal. But what does that mean? What does it really look like inside an editor's head?

There are really too many variables to count. But let's discuss a few.

First: timing.
Good writing most often gets pushed into "maybe" bc we're still reading and don't feel sure of how the piece will ultimately compare to others. Perhaps it arrives early in our sub period and we're waiting to see if something else excites us more.
Other early birds may be so unique that we dont know yet if it's too "out there." We want it, but we can't keep it if it sticks out too much to relate to the overall book.

Reviewing early birds in the end feels very much like a tightrope choice. It could go either way so easily
On the flip side, we have latecomers. Arriving at this point makes it more likely that you're giving us themes and devices we've already read. We argue the most over these because everyone has a unique take, but we have to limit our choice to avoid too much redundancy.
At the end, we also can see how our spread looks between sub types. Poetry might suddenly be more competitive than fiction if we got an imbalanced amount. So you might hit the maybe pile just bc of book design.

(Secret: poetry is ALWAYS in overabundance.)
Maybe you've heard all of this before. But here's a lesser talked about influence that can make a "maybe" go either way: read order.

If we read a "maybe" after reading a "no", we're more likely to convert to "yes" and the opposite is just as true.
It's all a game of comparison, and read order can play on our emotions. Reading a happy story after a sad one can push us to want it more. Reading something simple after a really long and deep literary piece can make us want the breath of fresh air. It REALLY is subjective.
Another variable, and this one is often used to drag editors: our personal taste or drama. We each like or dislike certain cliches, themes, and tropes. Maybe we read your sappy story after a fight with a loved one and just roll our eyes. We put you in "maybe" to protect you.
It wouldn't be fair to make a sure decision when we're clearly under the influence of mood, hunger, sleeplessness, stress. And we cant avoid reading under those pressures sometimes. There's not enough time in the day for an ideal reading life.
Many times we go back to a "maybe" and think, "I don't know what was wrong with me, but I like this now." Sadly, we sometimes go back and realize we liked a "maybe" without thinking critically enough. Too distracted. We have to comb them over and over to catch any personal faults
At this point, you can see how a single sub can read one way on Monday and a different way 2 months later on a Tuesday. And it genuinely isnt because you aren't good enough. The "maybe" is SO CLOSE. It's a hair trigger decision sometimes.
So PLEASE believe us when we say, "Please continue to query this." We really do think it should be published. The cards just fell a certain way this time. Keep trying. It's like fishing. Fight the subjectivity by constantly recasting your line. The variables change each time.
If you found this helpful, please share!

You can also stay in the loop for our sub and publication dates via our newsletter:

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