We're still struggling with the treasure chest aka the unsolicited manuscripts. The volume still exceeds our capacity to deal with it. And writers are still getting angry that we aren't doing what's wanted. Only maybe 2.5% of our list comes from the unsolicited. We're interested, but its not the core of our business at the moment. The expectations of writers far exceeds what we can reasonably deliver.
One of the people here at black dog was mentioned by name in an anonymous entry in Pass It On. There was a sense I felt of the writer wanting to out an individual within our organisation - yet it was done anonymously. That seems both cowardly and unprofessional to me. If that author is reading this, please call me. And I don't think Pass It On should permit anonymous entries.
That said, the standard of the way submissions are being presented has improved immensely and I thank those writers. It is making it much easier for us to respond more quickly. We also have for the moment somebody spending a half day a week on the treasure chest (as well as the more ad hoc efforts by individual editors including myself.)
One thing I dislike is to be told that it's been recommended by a manuscript assessment agency that the book be sent to us, or that the book has been favourably commented on by this or that manuscript assessment agency. We have no relationship with any agency of this sort and we prefer to form our own opinion. It rapidly cools my interest.
Another bug bear for me is when I respond by email with a "no thanks this is not for us" or a "this is why this isn't working for us" I get an immediate return email submitting another story or asking for some other advice or help.
We're not branch of the public service and we don't have obligations to writers that are yet to become our authors. Maybe writers should be talking to the Australia Council about grants to publishers to deal with their unsolicited piles.