Everyone here at Capstone Fiction has one big fear: a giant stack of red folders appearing on his or her desk. Ask any of us what gives us nightmares, and it's these oversized plastic folders.
At the beginning of the season, red folders are kind of fun: they're new, shiny, empty. Like new notebooks at the start of the school year, the red folders are full of potential and promise. They're ready to do their duty. The edited manuscript slides neatly in and it's sent on its way through the production process.
But then new routing slips are attached. The folders get fingerprinty. Sketches and concepts and ideas are shoved inside.
By the end of the season (hint: like right now), it's a rare day when you come to work and don't have at least one folder waiting on your chair. The other day, Michael (our editorial director) went home early because he had eighteen red folders he had to get through before the next day. He needed to be able to focus on them (and he wouldn't admit it, but I bet he was afraid of getting more red folders before the day was through!).
Sometimes the red folders fight back. They hide. They disappear. We have editors in two locations, and sometimes the red folders simply slip away somewhere between our offices.
In general, I find it's best to try to respect the red envelopes: treat them how you'd like to be treated. Deal with them quickly and kindly and send them on their way. (Maybe the DMV could take some notes.)
After all, the sooner you pass them along, the sooner you can make room on your desk for the next batch.