It seems a Bizarro World is beginning to emerge in the realm of the megacorp publishing houses these days—Simon & Schuster is “reorganizing,” Dorchester’s completely dropped their mass-market model for print-on-demand, and now, like a gaunt rider on a pale horse, Penguin is taking unsolicited submissions. For three months.
Honestly, I’m a little wary of this announcement. With the monoliths of the publishing world scrambling for economic feasibility, I can’t see why Penguin would decide now, of all times, to take unsolicited submissions. They’ve been Agented Submissions Only for so long. They’ve been a perfect bastion of the old style publishing model with agents acting as guards at the gates for years and years now. And, even if that model was still working 100% all the time with today’s leaps and bounds in technology, recession woes have hit everybody, from the tiniest, insignificant fanfic writer to the Goliaths of the fiction world.
So, I’m slightly convinced that this is a herald for some upcoming doom on the horizon. Like, Penguin’s going to announce it’s piped-directly-into-our-brains imprint with books wrenched directly out of the masses’ subconscious. (Or worse, vanity publishing! Run away, run away!)
Still, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to send them my novel.
Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, even though that gift horse might be a wheezing, undead pack animal bent on gnawing you into little goey bits as you sleep.
Of course, we write horror here, and it’s important to note that I’m actually not sure if Penguin has a horror imprint. Sure, Penguin Classics just released a series of time-honored scary tales, but as far as new horror releases, I haven’t been able to find any. (At least, nothing that’s not Oooo-you’re-a-pretty-vampire-please-eat-me fiction.)
So, I would advise that we all send Penguin the less gory novel we've been working on. Just to see if it can squeeze through. Because, after all, the terms “Speculative Fiction” and “Modern Fantasy” can be very widely applied. Heh.
Edit: While, yes, it is Penguin UK taking unsolicited submissions right now and not Penguin USA, do not lose heart (for all our stateside peeps.) If you get published with Penguin UK, you pretty much get to be published wherever you want after that.