Gallimard urges aspiring writers to wait before sending their manuscripts

Gallimard illustration – PITCHAL / SIPA

Fewer and fewer French people read, but there are still as many candidates for publication. And for Gallimard, this is too much: the publisher asks aspiring writers to wait before sending their prose. “In view of the exceptional circumstances, we ask you to stop sending the manuscripts. Take care of yourself always and good reading, ”writes the prestigious house on its website.

This advice appeared there in early April and was relayed on the official Twitter account on April 2, a late Friday afternoon. Not sure that he is followed unanimously, but to increase his chances, it is better to comply. And be patient.

The immensity of the volumes sent

The context is quite unfavorable to first novelists who dream of Houellebecq or Nothomb. The closing of bookstores twice in 2020, in the spring and in the fall, resulted in publication delays, causing a traffic jam in 2021. If getting published is always difficult for a beginner, it has become even more complicated.

Gallimard is however not stingy with the first novels in his famous White Collection: five at the beginning of January, two in March, two in April… Asked about the reasons for this message to the general public, the publisher spoke of the immensity of the volumes sent.

“We see people who write and whom we feel they don’t read”

The 30 or so manuscripts per working day received on rue Gaston-Gallimard have grown to 50 for nearly a year. “We make a point of giving equal attention to all manuscripts we receive and we respond to all mailings. It is a considerable work which requires thoroughness and availability of mind. It is for all these reasons that we have asked to suspend, quite temporarily, the sending of manuscripts, ”explained Gabrielle Lécrivain, editor.

Some competitors had given the same advice in a very specific context: during the first confinement, in the spring of 2020.

Seuil receives around 3,500 manuscripts per year, concentrated at the beginning and end of the year. Between January and March, 1,200 arrived. ” It’s a lot. Now that everyone knows how to use a computer for writing, we see people writing who we feel they don’t read. It’s not like the days when you had to take your Remington to type your manuscript, which literary enthusiasts did, ”says the editor.

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