Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Interviews and Unloved Manuscripts

Clearly there's a bit of a lag between when I get emails and when I answer them, mainly because this blog only takes priority after I've finished my real work and then my writing work.

Dennis Cass asked me to do a guest Q & A, and I did. The results are here.

Dear Rejecter,

I was wondering whether you know how I can get my hands on unloved (rejected) manuscripts? The ones without a loving home etc.

On principle we toss them. Sometimes we recycle and sometimes we don't (if the recycle bin is unavailable or I'm making the decision, because I don't recycle). While the paper belongs to us, we don't have legal ownership of the words ON the paper. The author holds the copyright - the right to copy and/or reproduce them. That puts "sending other people's rejected manuscripts around" into somewhat dubious legal/moral territory.

15 comments:

Heidi the Hick said...

I recycle, even though I know it's putting more truck traffic out there, because I was a farm kid on some of the best land in Canada. I think it's wrong to fill valleys with garbage when our good soil should be growing food. Besides, I want to move back again, and I do not want to end up with a landfill site beside my farm!!!!

We really don't know much about the process though. We separate our waste into garbage, blue box and green bin, and it all gets dumped into one truck. Okaaaay. I'm glad it's only one truck's worth of pollution. But who separates it??? I often feel like I've been had.

chronic-doodler said...

I recycle paper because I'd rather they cut down fewer trees and I figure if they have paper to reuse then that's one less reason to cut down another tree. I don't really care how economically sound it is.

Anonymous said...

Wow, am I the only one who finds it incredibly sketchy that someone would want to get ahold of rejected manuscripts? To what end? They're not stray cats one can provide with a good home, they're someone else's hard artistic work.

kelley said...

ah, the article isn't necessarily true. as someone whose husband works for a major waste disposal company I can absolutely tell you it isn't true. When our town turned to recycling, his co added one truck for recycling. And got rid of 3 regular trucks as the quantity of trash and trips to landfills went way down. (The recycling site is much closer than the landfills as well--using less gasoline.) And recycling trucks are very different trucks- usually much smaller and newer (read more efficient.) Also, recycled material is just that--recycled, much for new use. Landfills--all that trash just rots. That reuse can and does outweigh whatever negatives there is from picking it up. The article makes a sweeping judgment, which just doesn't hold water in every case. Absolutely recycle.

Bernita said...

"I was wondering whether you know how I can get my hands on unloved (rejected) manuscripts?"

Whatever for??

Anonymous said...

Seriously? The truck is driving by anyway and you don't recycle? That's either incredibly lazy or incredibly irresponsible.

Ulysses said...

Rejected manuscripts have 101 household uses: kindling, pet cage lining, emergency toilet paper, confetti manufacture...

Recycling may consume more energy, but there are other considerations.

Toronto, one of Canada's largest cities, has so much garbage that they have no place to put it. For a while, they were trucking it down to a U.S. landfill.

The Rejecter said...

Before everyone jumps on me, there's more too it. There's also the waste of water and electricity, two things that we need more than more paper.

See the Penn and Teller "Bullshit!" episode on Recycling. It's on Youtube.

Anonymous said...

"There's also the waste of water and electricity, two things that we need more than more paper."

If you're speaking of the energy input of recycling paper, you're right, the cost of recycling is *almost* the same as new manufacture.

But recycling programs can significantly cut a community's garbage costs in fewer trucks, smaller landfills and so on. The more folks who particpate, the greater the savings, so if the truck is driving by, anon is right---you can reduce your community's waste footprint by recycling.


Z

Elissa M said...

Clarksville, TN, has waste retrieval centers where you take your household garbage and separated recyclables and drop them off for free. No paying for garbage pickup (unless you want to). The centers are all over town, so there's bound to be one on your way to somewhere. I produced one medium sized kitchen bag of garbage per week when I took out all the recyclables. Two bags when my husband got back from Iraq and our garbage load doubled.

You have no choice about recycling in Germany. When we lived there, they had separate cans for various types of refuse and recyclables, and "gelbe saks" (clear yellow bags) for plastics and styrofoam. If your garbage was not properly sorted, it wasn't picked up and you were fined. Different types of waste were picked up on different days, usually every other week, sometimes once a month. I'll bet their recycling system isn't at all inefficient.

The Rejecter said...

In New York I've seen the guys put our recycling stuff in the same trash pile on the sidewalk as our non-recycled stuff, and get thrown away all the same. I'm not 100% on whether it's illegal or not, but even if I WANTED to recycle, it probably wouldn't happen.

Elissa M said...

I should have added that Sierra Vista Arizona's recycling program was discontinued because the city was taking the recycling bins' contents to the dump. Not all recycling programs are created equal.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing dubious about it. It's flat out copyright violation to give away submitted works to 3rd parties without author consent.

Nancy Matson said...

Also, Rejecter, not to jump all over you, but especially living in New York landfill use is an issue. When the big landfill on Staten Island was filled up a few years back and trucking garbage far outside the city became so expensive that this was a major incentive to bring back recycling programs.

Certainly cans and glass are very effectively recycled. An aluminum can can be recycled 45 times before it gives out. As to the paper, I, too, am skeptical about the efficiency with which most paper is recycled, but I'm prepared to do my bit until they work it out.

Kami said...

On the topic of rejected manuscripts going to a third party, I was the recipient of such an action. The editor informed me (which kept me in the loop and I assume kept copyright stuff legal.) I was thrilled, because she sent it to another editor she thought would like it well enough to buy it. It got rejected again, but it is one (very rare, I assume) example of rejected manuscripts being sent elsewhere. The first editor must have liked the story enough market it for me without promise of compensation. I wonder if she just didn't have enough room or it wasn't quite a good enough fit for her magazine to make the cut. Anyway, has anyone else experienced this? Is this actually more common than I imagine, or was it a fluke? In twenty years of writing I've had it happen only once.