Oh, If They'd Only Included Page 2!!
by Lisa Marie Wilkinson
(Nashville, TN, USA)
My debut novel, "Fire at Midnight," published by Medallion Press in 2009, was first requested by an editor from another publishing house as the result of a contest win. The submissions process took a very long time (over a year) and I'd long forgotten about the submission by the time Medallion had read my full manuscript and offered me a contract on the novel.
Just as my book went into its initial printing, I received a rejection letter from an editor at the aforementioned publisher (not the original editor to whom I had submitted, interestingly enough), that proclaimed my novel would never be published by any publishing house. It was a detailed rejection in that the letter went on to say that all the reasons why the book was not publishable would be detailed within the body of the letter so that I would be able to learn from the experience because the editor felt I had talent and was capable of writing something that would eventually be publishable.
The problem? The letter said "page 1 of 2" and there was no page 2 included. I shook out the envelope the way you'd shake an empty bag of potato chips to dislodge the crumbs, but nothing else fell out. I never followed up with the publisher with regard to the missing page (I found the whole idea a bit embarrassing), but I've always wondered what page 2 might have contained in the way of words of advice.
"Fire at Midnight" has since won the IPPY Gold Medal for Romance, was a USA Book News Best Books Winner, won the Grand Prize in the Maryland Writers Association Novel Contest, and a Bronze in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest.
I'm very lucky that the contract came through from Medallion Press before I received the rejection from the other publisher, because it's very likely I would have relegated the manuscript to a place of honor among the dust bunnies under the bed.