Thursday, November 12, 2009

Who Does This?

***Warning to all reading this: It’s full of sarcasm and nothing but a rant, but I had a really good time writing it.

Not too long ago somebody (I’m not sure if it was a man or woman, or even using her real name, so we’ll go with “she”) thought it would be a good idea to send an angry diatribe of an email to roughly 400 publishing professionals. How do I know 400? Because all of our email addresses were there for the world, or at least 400 publishing professionals, to see.

The email was entitled “confidential memo.” I mean, really, how confidential can anything be when it’s from a stranger and blindly sent to 400 people, many, or most, at generic submission addresses? But if that’s what you think, I’ll respect that. Okay, no I won’t.

The email started by telling us all how much writers disregard the publishing industry and hold us all in contempt. My first thought was that you must not disregard us all that much if you’ve gone to the effort to collect 400+ email addresses and send this email, but I’ll keep reading. Apparently, according to this writer, bestseller lists only promote shallow and marketable books and there’s nothing being published that’s written by anyone with any lasting talent. Interesting, the same was said of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen, but what do I know? Maybe they’re just hacks.

The funny thing about bestseller lists is that publishers don’t actually place the books on the lists themselves. They are there because readers love those books, buy them in mass quantities and, lo and behold, they become bestsellers. I guess it would be better if we only published books readers didn’t want to read or buy? Ah, so many things I’ll have to consider.

And then of course there were the usual complaints about expecting writers to “sell” their books to agents and how writers aren’t salespeople and that the system needs to change. Blah, blah, blah. How do you think we’re going to find authors if you in some way can’t at least tell me about your book in a way that’s enticing? Because if people are getting published daily, new authors, it’s somehow the system’s fault that you’re not?

Okay, so this was my favorite part. The part about how it was a crime that hardworking people spend years writing a manuscript only to get it rejected. Newsflash! I never asked you to write that manuscript. If it’s a crime, it’s a crime you perpetrated on yourself. Don’t blame me, or should I say the 400 of us, because what you wrote isn’t publishable (or at least that’s why I’m assuming I got this email).

And then of course there was a lot of misinformation about how unethical agents are, how writers who are successful are whores, how publishers only want books by actors and politicians and then something about if I liked Vanilla Ice or MC Hammer then I’m nothing but a sheep.

I really only have one thing to say to this person: insult me all you want, but insult my authors and you are a complete fool. Don’t ever assume any of the clients I represent are thieves, whores, or hacks. They are talented writers who have worked hard to get to where they are. I’m not representing them because I’m looking for easy money or to fill bestseller lists (although we’re hoping to do that too), I’m representing them because I like the books they write. No, I love what they write, and this might surprise you, so do thousands of other people.

Don’t worry, it’s people like this who only give other idiots a bad name. Oh, and give me something to rant about. I mean, seriously?!

Jessica

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