There have been a lot of posts on SCBWI recently lamenting the fact that so many publishers are no longer responding to unsolicited submissions. A lot of authors seem very hurt and indignant. "How dare they treat potential customers this way?" seems to be the refrain of the hour...
But this is looking at the situation exactly backwards.
We're not the potential customers. They are. After all, we want THEM to buy OUR product. Unsolicited Authors are in the position of a salesman cold-calling. Or, actually in the position of someone sending unasked for catalogues and junk mail.
Do YOU personally respond to everyone who sends you a piece of junk mail? Do you call all those credit card companies up and tell them exactly why you're rejecting their offer?
I didn't think so. At least the publishers do us the courtesy of opening our submissions and reading the first page or so. The junk mail I get goes straight to the trashcan, unless I let the kids play with it...
So then you may wonder, why keep sending out unsolicited manuscripts?
Well, because, just like a few people may respond to that junk mail that you toss blithely in the trash can, there's a chance that some publisher somewhere may look at what you have to offer and think "Hey.. I'd like to see more of this..."
But we really can't blame them for not wanting to take the time to respond to all the stuff that they don't want. Even if we're SURE they should really, really want our book.
After all, what kind of salesman would we be if we didn't believe in the product?