Just say no

<p>Penguin's Colin Brush has reacted <a href="http://thepenguinblog.typepad.com/the_penguin_blog/2007/07/you-can-tell-... to a piece in the <a href="http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/... today, which suggests that publishers would not recognise a Jane Austen book if they found one on the slush pile.<img width="105" height="158" align="right" src="/documents/UserContributed/9780141439518L(1).jpg" alt="Would you recognise this book?" /></p>
<p>I can't blame him: it's the standard story of a failed author attempting to get one over the trade that has rejected him. Brush is particularly riled by a <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/">Today</a> report of the story. He writes: &quot;In the Today programme piece, Penguin was singled out for a mention since we'd actually republished <em>Pride and Prejudice</em> a couple of months ago. The standard rejection letter he received said: 'Thank you for your recent letter and chapters from your book <em>First Impressions</em> [<em>Pride and Prejudice</em>]. It seems like a really original and interesting read.' You could perhaps concuss yourself on that boiler plate rejection.&quot;<br />
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&quot;I can't begin to describe the ignorance of the way publishing works,&quot; writes Brush. In fact, he does describe it very well. But I'm not sure Brush isn't being a little harsh on an individual who just happens to want to be a writer. The argument here is that these are &quot;standard&quot; rejection letters, prompted by overworked editorial assistants who might just have glanced at the book between their long hours.</p>
<p>Well fair enough. Publishers know their own business, despite what some journalists like to write, and for all its faults the UK publishing industry is still well-capable of finding new gems to sit alongside the very, very many classic writers it has discovered.</p>
<p>But if the submission has not been read properly (by an editor), why not just say so?</p>