come (in) over the transom(redirected from they came over the transom)
come (in) over the transom
To be offered without prior agreement, consent, or arrangement; to be unsolicited or uninvited. Said especially of written works submitted for publication or consideration. My biggest task as an intern was sorting through and usually disposing of amateur works that came over the transom. Any journalist will tell you that a great story doesn't come in over the transom—you have to go and do the leg work to find one.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
come in over the transom
Arrive as an unsolicited communication, most often a manuscript submitted to a publisher. The transom referred to is a small window above a door and was found in many offices before the advent of central air conditioning. Although the literal meaning has vanished with the existence of transoms, it continues to be used for manuscripts not submitted through an agent or requested by an editor. With the increasing development of self-publishing, the cliché may be heading toward obsolescence. However, it is still used sometimes for other matters, such as “We’ve had nearly one hundred job applications come in over the transom.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer