I sent my full manuscript to the publisher at 2:37pm and by 3:44pm I had a response. Now, I am a fast reader, but even I cannot read 289 pages in 67 minutes.
The verdict--"the laundry list of rooms and their flaws was more than their editor could take".
It was suggested to me by the editor that I re-work and then re-submit--with an eye toward holding the reader's interest.
In case anyone is curious, THIS is why ordinarily nice, placid authors stick their heads in ovens and drown themselves.
I worked for THREE years on my novel. Yes, it's a first novel, and yes, it's probably rough in places and could stand some editing, but I also wrote the scenes I did on purpose. And then I joined a critique group. No less than seven pairs of eyes have read and critiqued my novel. In an earlier draft, I glossed over Alex and Will's home buying trip/description of the layout of the house, and was told repeatedly by my critique group that I needed to describe the interior. That I had to explain right off the bat why they buy the house they do and show that Alex and Will are at odds about the house from the very moment they walk through the door.
Perhaps the chapter could use some enlivening, but I am offended that the powers that be at this particular publishing house read however much they managed in an hour and seven minutes and without getting past that point in the story, decided that the book in its entirety needed to be re-worked and that things weren't going to pick up considerably. And furthermore, I am pissed off that they told me to re-work "it", whatever "it" is and then re-submit it to them.
You know how you break up with someone and say "I hope we can still be friends?" That's what "Re-write your book and then re-submit it to us" feels like.
Add to this the indignity of being rejected in sixty-seven minutes, and it's something like Speed Dating where you've spent two hours getting ready, are looking as attractive as you possibly can, sit down at the table, open your mouth to introduce yourself, and he takes one look at you and says, "Oh, hell no!"