Here are some highlights to an excellent article:
"One of the great advantages of growing up in a family of writers (my father, uncle, brother, and a hefty percentage of the family’s friends all hammered away on the same anvil) is not only seeing with one’s own wee eyes that making a living at it is indeed possible, but also hearing from one’s cradle continual confirmation that yes, baby, even the most talented writers on earth have had to struggle with rejection. Or, to be precise, one is told that back in the day, it wasn’t easy, either. Heck, writers in the 40s and 50s evidently had to walk uphill both ways to the post office in three feet of snow to submit hand-typed manuscripts to agents and editors.
Return with me now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when books were widely read, writers didn’t need agents, and the photocopier had not yet been invented. Prior to personal computers (and nice laser printers in workplaces that might conceivably be accessible after the boss goes home for the day), a writer could not print out spare copies of your precious manuscript to submit to every Tom, Dick, and Random House in the biz; equally obviously, no sane human being would send out his only copy.
So how did writers reproduce their work to submit to several publishing houses? They retyped it, that’s how. Every single page.
This is the origin of the SASE, in case any of you had been wondering: getting their rejected manuscripts back would save writers weeks of retyping time...
When a short story was rejected — as, in the beginning, all of Philip’s and Kleo’s were — and landed once again in their mailbox with the accuracy of a well-flung boomerang, they acted as professional writers should act: they submitted the rejected story to another magazine immediately. To minimize retyping, they would iron any pages that had gotten bent in the mail, slip the manuscript into a fresh envelope (yes, with a fresh SASE), and pop it in the mail.
How many? Well, no one knows for sure anymore (since occasionally the only copy of a story got sent by mistake, some inevitably got lost), but one day, the young couple opened their front door to find 17 rejected manuscripts spread all over their miniscule front porch."
So, just think, we could be ironing bent pages, folks. We could be typing fresh copies of every page. It is a luxury that we get to sit around this blog and bitch about our misfortunate. I actually found Anne Mini's article quite inspirational, until I got to the part about her own memoir, A Family Darkly: Love, Loss, and the Final Passions of Philip K. Dick, which is...guess what?...languishing unpublished due to woes you and I only have nightmares about.
This is a very good writer, people, with something to say about an interesting literary life; this is a book writers would really want to read, and I bet it's not fabricated! But, you know how it goes; they can get O.J. Simpson into print, but they can't work out the legal details of the Dick estate. Isn't that always the way?