Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chip on Your Shoulder

We all have our down days and there’s no doubt we’ve all become frustrated with the publishing process at one point or another. Published authors become frustrated with how long things take or when editors leave or reject their next book, unpublished authors become frustrated with agents and the challenges of “getting in the door,” and agents become frustrated with all of those things and more. It’s natural, normal, and understandable, but it’s not going to help anyone’s cause, least of all your own, to develop a chip on your shoulder and share it with everyone.

Imagine if your agent became frustrated with Publisher Z because they rejected the last three submissions she made to them. Instead of simply brushing the frustration away and moving on with new enthusiasm she decided to let Publisher Z know all about her frustrations, and used the submission she was making on your behalf to do so.

What if she started her pitch to your book with, “I’m sure you’re simply going to ignore this query like you’ve done with the last three books I’ve sent, but I don’t care. I believe in my clients and do this job for love. I agent for myself and my authors write for the love of writing. However, we want the world to read this book and to do so, I need you to buy this book.”

Imagine how mad you’d be. I get queries from authors like this all the time, and while I understand what they must be going through, it also makes it an easy query to reject. Let’s face it, an author who starts out that angry with the process is presenting herself as someone who won’t be easy to work with. So, while it’s understandable that you will, at times, be frustrated, try not to always share it with everyone.



Kimber Li said...

Great timing! I'm about a month away from Queryland, again, and soooo not looking forward to it.

Sometimes it's hard to learn a little each time, instead of letting a chip start.

Dark chocolate anyone?

Deborah Blake said...

My mantra is this: "High road, Deborah. Take the high road."

You can never err by being polite and professional. And our mammas were right when they said, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

Also, it is important to remember not to take things in the publishing world personally. The agent that rejected you last year may well be the one that says yes in the future.

Sarah said...

I'm assuming this post is based on reality, not simply hypotheticals? Hmmm, that's too bad. When I get frustrated with a person I try as hard as I can to view the situation from their perspective to see if I can understand why they might have responded that way. If it's an agent, maybe that was the 86th query they received that day and just weren't feeling it. Maybe it's my own writing that needs to be perfected so it received a flat-out no. Times that I do find it hard trying to bite my tongue, I at least remind myself to not burn any bridges; you have no idea when you'll be encountering this person in the future!

M. D. Benoit said...

My own mantra is "Don't burn your bridges." The rejecting agent/publisher of today may be your best ally down the road.

MAGolla said...

First and foremost, this is a business. We are passionate about our work, which is a given, but we must temper that passion when others don't feel the love. Not every story is for everyone. Very rarely do I pick a book from the NYT best seller list to read because they aren't my thang, but it doesn't stop hundreds of thousands of other readers from enjoying those stories.
The only thing we can do is keep writing our passion and getting it out there.
Sooner or later--I hope--someone will feel the same passion about the story that I do. Timing, Luck, Perseverence--nd it goes without saying, but I'm going to say it--writing a damn good story.

Amy Sue Nathan said...

I think it's ok to be annoyed and hurt and even angry -- and to develop a temporary chip on one's shoulder -- because we're all human. But all of that should be private - because it does no one any good, least of all the person who is looking for something (writer, agent).

I make very unattractive faces at the computer monitor when I read rejection letters! Makes me feel better and then I move on. Hurts no one. Sometimes makes me laugh at myself!

Julie Weathers said...

Jessica, this was a really good post and illustration. I get frustrated with the people who slam the publishing industry, the agents, the editors and the whole process.

I know it's hard to get back rejections, but I try to keep the pony theory in mind.

A researcher puts two little boys in stalls with a huge pile of manure and tells them to clean it out. A while later one is sitting down crying because it's hard work, it stinks, and he shouldn't have to do this.

The researcher goes into the other room and the little boy is shoveling like mad and giggling.

The researcher asks him why he's so happy.

"With all this horse crap, there has to be a pony in here somewhere."

Yes, some of the process is hard. I'm working on synopsis now. I thought the manuscript was hard. Oofta. I'm just going to keep digging for my pony...and hope it's a Welsh.

Liz Czukas said...

The fact that you (and every other literary agent) have to deal with this makes me angry, because it just makes it that much harder for those of us who follow guidelines and present ourselves professionally. Agents are burned out by those that don't by the time they get to those of us that do!

Thanks for reminding us of the right way.

- Liz

Donna Lea Simpson said...

It's true that this is a business that will break your heart a hundred times, but then you'll have a day so shiny and bright, it will make you forget all the others. I work towards the shiny bright and try to let the rest slip away. It isn't always easy.

When rejection hurts, lashing out is not the answer for anyone. Take a deep breath and repeat: "I am a professional" ten times.

Kimber Li said...

Liz, I agree.

I think it was Janet Reid who wrote a post in which she worried she was scaring the wrong people.

I'd say almost all of the aspiring authors who read the blogs of agents and editors really are doing their level best, which is why they're reading those blogs in the first place.

It's discouraging, then, to read a post which 'sounds' like the agent or editor believes ALL aspiring authors are irritating little idiots.

Double your chocolate and bring on the coffee!

Jennifer A. said...

Excellent advice for unpublished authors.

brendan mcnally said...

Excellent Advice. You absolutely have to have thick skin and a smile on your face. When one faces all the rejection and stupidity, you just have to tell yourself that this is one of the snares set up to weed out the weak and the too-sensitive and the non-professional, many of whom are actually better writers than the rest of us. By keeping this in mind we can can prevail over million-to-one odds of success.

We have to smile and not take anything personally and keep fighting and moving forward.

As writers we also have to understand that our relationships with editors and agents are first and foremost business relationships and they tend to only last as long as they are mutually advantageous.

We also have to recognize that sometime the advice we are given by agents and editors is going to be what's good for them, not for you. You have to always be willing to listen to advice, but the final decision always rests with you.

Ultimately, you are the one responsible for your own success as a writer and as a brand. Don't ever let that out of your own hands. This is a business.

Dara said...

Absolutely right. We writers need to remember it's a business and we need to keep our professional face on.

Rant in the privacy of your home--to your family, friends, etc. But not in a query!

Kim Lionetti said...

Hi Kimber An --

I agree that most aspiring authors who are reading agent blogs and taking the time to research the industry are ahead of the curb compared to many other queriers.

Still, though, there seems to be a growing number of bloggers and commenters who seem to harbor a lot of anger and resentment toward agents and the publishing industry in general. Granted, they are a vocal minority, but I think Jessica was directing the message more toward them and not generalizing about all aspiring writers.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why any author would want to sabotage themselves like that!

When I start submitting my manuscript to literary agents, I certainly wouldn't want them to take on my book if it sucked ass anyway! If my story does get published one day it will be because it's good enough to be published.

I'm not even going to try self publishing, because if publishers don't want to read my book, the rest of the general public surely won't either.

Kimber Li said...

Thanks, Ms. Lionetti.

Yes, it's easy for those of us who are trying our darnedest to be really sensitive about it.

*I think* the Big Fear is our stories won't receive a fair shake. After so many long hours of work, that can be a monster in the room.

Robena Grant said...

I watched the first of the live Idol shows this week and admired the performers for their strength and courage in accepting the criticism as part of their journey. And they had to stand in front of four people and be on national tv. Our rejections are private and much easier to take...piece of cake. Every time I get an R that I'd held out wild hopes for I go take another writing class. : )

Kim Lionetti said...

I see where you might worry about that Kimber An.

But honestly, I think that those experiences and frustrations make us that much hungrier for the good ones. And when we get them, we appreciate them more.

Mira said...

Well, I agree that's the query letter isn't the right place for writers to express their dissatisfaction with the system. That's....well not only self-defeating, but not very effective in terms of being 'heard'.

However, I believe writers do need to speak up. The industry needs improvement, and writers need to have a voice in that.

Maybe not in the query letter, though. :)

And, for the record, I have sent out exactly two query letters and received exactly two rejection letters. Obviously I'm extraordinarily bitter about this. Who wouldn't be?

But I think my critiques of the system stem from something other than my deep bitterness over my two rejection letters. :)

I do like things about the system though. One of those things are agent blogs.

Anonymous said...

Sure, there's a lot of frustration, even anger, out there--but isn't it more democratic to let these voices be heard, if they're logical and reasonable?
I agree that lashing out at the system won't change things immediately but maybe it needs a kick in the pants? Let's hope that some good ideas will be expressed openly that make agents and editors sit up and take notice, (including long waits for replies, etc.).

Thanks for the open forum--you're one of the few agents who don't delete comments just because you don't agree. Bravo!

Marsha Sigman said...

I wonder if it occurs to these people that their writing might actually just suck?

I know we should be confident and believe in ourselves but if you are getting rejected repeatedly, it might actually be your fault and not the agent or the industry.

I'm just sayin'...

Rebecca Knight said...

"I'm just going to keep digging for my pony...and hope it's a Welsh."

Julie--this cracked me up! :D I'm going to keep digging for my pony, too.

Kim Lionetti said...

Anonymous 11:30 --

Long response times -- mine included -- are definitely one of the lousiest aspects of publishing. To be honest, though, editors and agents like me see that problem as symptomatic of masses and masses of people writing books and contacting us every single day, not the result of a broken system. I just don't think there's an ideal answer to that problem. So it's hard to see the really angry comments as constructive.

Jodi Ralston said...

There is another way of thinking of it, or what I call the Stephen Covey way of thinking about it. If people write that in the query, they are letting "rejections" control how happy they are. Sure they hurt, but you gotta find a way to be happy about the whole process inspite of being rejected, otherwise you get a pessimistic outlook that will hurt you even more in the end.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Kim--I have an idea: How about hiring some unemployed editors, writers and/or college students (via internships) to weed through the slush? If so many queries are terrible, then it should be easy if you give them guidelines.

Lots of out of work people would jump at the chance to find gold in the pan. Why not give it a try?

Tiffany Neal said...

What's frustrating to me is that my query gets jumbled in between these mixed bouts of angry/bitter/crazy other letters.

I've only sent out one and received one rejection - that's a part of the game.

Of course it stings, if it didn't then there'd be something wrong with the writer (in my opinion). But that doesn't mean you should lash out on an agent. That's like digging your own grave...why bother even writing the query at that point???

This is a business. Writers should treat it like that.

Kim Lionetti said...

Anonymous 12:26 --

Most agents and publishing houses -- like BookEnds -- already do use interns. Their responsibilities regarding queries vary from place to place.

But even this is controversial, because a lot of aspiring authors are angered by the possibility that the agent they sent their query to isn't the person that actually rejected them. So there are a lot of writers who don't see this as a good solution either.

Anonymous said...

Kim, yes, you're right--but I mean hire a professional once a week to eliminate the 99% of queries that agents say are rejects--and find the ones to go in the maybe or yes pile. I'd rather get a quick no than wait months for a slow no...(as I had to do with my partial).

You can have advanced readers or writers read through the partials and give their opinions, but they won't have the power to reject or accept. Maybe you need more interns or part-time pros to help ease the workload of you busy agents. What about hiring a retired English lit professor or journalist part-time? My two cents!

Lisa Desrochers said...

And for the love of all that's holy, DON'T post it all over your blog/webpage either. That's the next place agents/editors check.

Kim Lionetti said...

Anonymous 12:54 --

Most agencies more or less already do use their interns in this capacity. But since they don't have the power to reject/accept, that means we have to read at least a portion of every submission anyway. I think without seeing the amount of material that comes in, it's hard to understand just how difficult this can be to manage. And the majority of this reading needs to be done during non-business hours so that we can deal with client matters during the day...which I really need to go do now. :)

Before I do that though I want to say that I appreciate your desire to create a respectful dialogue on the subject.

Unknown said...

I've seen a lot--and I mean, a lot of writers with the chip. All I can say to them is to remember: if we work hard and keep our chin (or chins) up, then it might happen. But if we can't keep those biting comments behind our teeth, we're probably never going to get past the slush pile. All that matters is having fun and learning while on our path--not the hurdles we face along the way.

Debra Lynn Shelton said...

Most agents, from what I've heard, receive between 100-300 queries per week. That's 400-1200 in ONE MONTH! I believe most agents are doing their level best to give every one of those queries a fair shake. If you want to grab the attention of an agent:
1) write the best book you can
2) edit it to within an inch of its life
3) thoroughly research every agent you want to query
4) rewrite your query a gazillion times or until it's perfect - whichever comes first
5) query
6) start writing your next book.

A couple of people mentioned sending out one or two queries. I'm a big believer in querying widely. I sent out close to 150 queries in my LAST go-around, which finally landed me my wonderful agent. BookEnds requested partials from me twice, which I greatly appreciated, and rejected me twice. That's the way the ball bounces. Suck it up, keep working on your craft, and don't slam the very people who can help make your dreams come true.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Marsha :)

Kimbra Kasch said...

I love all the helpful stuff you give out for free - these tidbits help not only in the publishing world but REAL life too. People forget these common courtesy things.

So THANKS for spending your time on all us wannabes in the writing world (and like Buzz LY says) and BEYOND.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Kim--this was interesting!
Please let me know if you ever need a published freelance writer and editor to cull through your queries--I'd be glad to help out, via e-mail. Best wishes and good luck! (Anon 12:54)

Unknown said...

I remember a scene from "When Harry Met Sally" a few decades ago. Sally told Harry he didn't need to expression every emotion he ever felt. That stuck with me -- even if it took me a great many years to get the hang of following that advice.

Lee Thompson/Thomas Morgan/James Logan/Julian Vaughn said...

Great post. I don't think being bitter moves anyone forward.

EvePaludan said...

Today's intern may be tomorrow's acquisitions editor. Always be professional to everyone!

mkcbunny said...

Great advice.

brendan mcnally said...

A last thought or two

One can't help getting bitter about the process. It's normal, it's reasonable, but it's counter-productive. Like pride, like lust and greed, it's a trap designed to slow you down.

If you need to be bitter, find a safe venue. I'm not sure this is that venue. Vent and move on as best you can. Ultimately we're in the entertainment industry. We have to be troupers! So Smile, goddammit!

Jan Cline said...

Three words popped into my mind when I read this. ARE YOU SERIOUS? It disturbs me to know people actually write that stuff to the agents that could possibly open a door for them.

I wouldn't trade jobs with you for anything. I'll just write and I promise never to do that when it's my turn to query.

David Jarrett said...

I have some issues with the query system and with agents in general, but to express them in a query is stupid. I do, however, think that agents need to hear and accept some criticism themselves, and making nice with them when I disagree with their policies is not being true to myself. Therefore, I try to make my feelings known, respectfully but forcefully, on my own web site and on their sites, exactly as I am doing here. The form rejection letter to a query, as it is now used, is absolutely not helpful to anyone but the agent, who is either unable or unwilling to give up any of her time to write something meaningful. If my query letter turned you off, tell me that. If you hated my content, tell me that. If no one wants to read the story I have written and it won't sell, tell me that, but please do not just tell me that it is just "not right for your list". That tells me nothing and really sets up an adversarial relationship that may prevent me from querying you in the future with something you might really like to represent.

Kate Douglas said...

This is SUCH an important post--and believe me, when you've submitted and been rejected for two frickin' decades like I did, it's easy to develop a chip on your shoulder...I guess. For some reason, I never did. I looked at each query as a fresh opportunity, mainly because I love to write and getting published was the gravy, so to speak. Hopefully, it won't take any of you guys as long as it took me, but when you submit your query, ask yourself WHY you write in the first place. Is it for the money and fame (ha!) of being published, or is it because you're a writer and you can't NOT write? If it's for the joy of writing and the chance to eventually get your stories out in front of the public, it's easier to avoid that desperate "Why won't anyone buy my book?" feeling. ALWAYS take the high road, as Deborah says. Much good advice in today's comments.

Kim Lionetti said...

Hi David Jarrett --

I know that not getting more specific feedback is really irritating. Something you said stood out to me: "The form rejection letter to a query, as it is now used, is absolutely not helpful to anyone but the agent..." You're completely right about that, but my question is why you would expect anything more? Literary agencies are businesses like any other. We primarily look out for our own -- and our clients' -- best interests. While Jessica and other agent bloggers are kind enough to provide information to aspiring authors, at the end of the day they're still running a business, not a public service. Therefore, there's no real motivation for changing that aspect of the query system.

I think more aspiring authors need to realize that sending out queries is just like filling out an application for any job. These days when you apply for a job, you're lucky if you get a response telling you yes or no. Even if you have an interview, you may never receive an answer and almost never get any feedback as to why you weren't chosen for the job.

Does it suck? Yes. But I'm afraid it's just the way things are. Agencies' top priorities are always going to lie with their current clients.

David Jarrett said...

Kim --
Thanks for the answer. To answer your comment, I would expect something more because if you were to give me a better idea of what you disliked about my query letter, synop, or sample pages, rather than the stock form rejection, my next effort might really turn you on. This would be in your best interest as well as mine.

Anonymous said...

If you've sent two queries and you're already bitter, I can't imagine how you'd deal with the 40 or more I have in my collection so far. Disappointed, sad, even angry for a while is understandable, but resentment and bitterness are useless. (And can lead to crippling depression, if you’re anything like me.)

I was a lot less understanding of the process until I started following agent blogs and Twitter feeds. (To be honest, the Web wasn't around when I first started querying.) Like David says above, I couldn’t understand why it was so damn hard to just write a single, honest line telling me why you rejected my query.

Then I saw a tweet from an agent I queried saying she's received something like 2,700 queries in less than two months. And she reads and answers them all! Yes, often with a form letter, but in addition to her, you know, *actual job*: her existing clients, she spends countless hours looking at queries from people who often can’t be bothered to read or follow her simple submission guidelines.

I finally got a request for a full, and it was from her. If I ever get “the call,” it's not going to be a tough decision. Anyone who cares that much about such a thankless task because she still believes there are gems to be found in the slush pile is an agent I want on my side.

Eeleen Lee said...

no point in venting and it always bites you in this digital age

onewriterslife said...

I agree, there are some days that suck...the days a rejection comes flying back at me. I, okay, I'll roll with the punches here and go back and edit again--for the empteenth time. I know my story is good and in fact, it's better than the dribble I almost put down last nite.

In that book, there were such big holes in the plot, comments, and thoughts this MC would NEVER have said or thought (given the previous picture the author had painted), not to mention at least a dozen typos! I was looking for my red pen. I kept plodding along, surprised I made it to the end.

If my rejection causes me to have a chip on my shoulder then it's my own darn fault. I need to sit down and have a serious talk with myself. Straighten up, I'll tell me!

When I hold a hardcover in my hand with so many errors, I want to go eat a whole chocolate cake! Bury that chip somewhere between its layers!

Kim Lionetti said...

Hi David --

I think that agents blog and attend conferences to teach aspiring writers how to write a really strong query, because it is indeed in all of our best interests. But due to the sheer volume of queries we receive, it's just impractical to try and convey that to each individual person who e-mails us.

Jennifer Ambrose said...

I just wanted to add to this conversation. First of all, it's never a good idea to burn bridges. I think we can all agree on that. And I don't think it's fair for writers to take their frustration out on the agents, who have devoted their careers to HELPING writers, not hurting them.

That being said, I do think that blogs and twitter have provided an easy platform for complaining on all sides--for agents, too. Agents even have their own twitter hashtag for their gripes. While these often refer to specific (and occasionally weird) writer behavior it's easy for a writer--already self critical and hypersensitive by nature--to take these gripes personally.

Thus evolves a seeming double standard between agents, who can complain about writers, and writers who can NOT complain about agents without potentially getting punished.

I'm in no way justifying a writer's bad behavior, just trying to provide some perspective for those poor souls who can't help but lash out.

David Jarrett said...

Kim --
Thank you for your candid comments. I can appreciate your point of view, but I also hope you can appreciate mine. Worst case scenario -- we can respectfully agree to disagree.

Editor with an Ice Pick said...

@ David Jarrett:

As I've said elsewhere, no one possesses the inalienable right to have a book brought out by a commercial publisher, and thousands of authors whose work actually does deserve publication will never see a word of their writing in print.

That being the case, what agent has the time to give you detailed feedback? And why should you expect it except in the interest of meeting your own perceived needs, just as the agent is meeting her actual business needs by sending you a form rejection and using her time to find the manuscripts she can sell?

When you say that an agent's detailed feedback is warranted because it might cause your next effort to really turn that agent on, what you're really saying is that you'll write to order (that's also called being a hack). You're also asking the agent for a writing lesson, and teaching you how to write is not the agent's job. It's your job to learn, and there are plenty of resources to help you with that.

As you readily acknowledge, the agent is "either unable or unwilling to give up any of her time to write something meaningful." Either way, how can you possibly argue with her?

Anyway, why do you assume that a form rejection letter is not chock-full of meaning? The issue appears to be that you don't like what the letter means. That is not the agent's problem.

David Jarrett said...

I would normally prefer the high road, but in this case, it sounds like the "editor with the icepick" woke up with a bad case of hemorrhoids.

Editor with an Ice Pick said...

@ David J. (again):

My comment certainly wasn't coated with sugar. But it wasn't uncivil, either. It was just a perspective from a working editor, one of the people who buy the manuscripts that agents try to sell on behalf of authors.

Your response to my comment didn't offend me personally. All of us who work in publishing have heard such remarks from frustrated, unpublished authors, and we don't take them personally, because none of this is personal. That's the point, really.

But your response does evince a bit of the same "chip on the shoulder" attitude addressed by the original post. That's not uncommon among beginners, but when it persists it can indicate an inability to learn from experience. A literary agent generously gave you two polite, considered replies to your comment, and all you seem to have concluded from them is that you will "agree to disagree." You may want to reflect on whether that is all you can learn from what she told you.

An agent's job doesn’t include helping querying authors understand her decisions, or spending more than a few minutes to evaluate clearly unsuitable projects. It does include getting such queries off her desk as quickly as possible, and couching her decisions in language vague enough to spare authors' self-esteem but firm enough to discourage further inquiries about the projects in question.

That's because more than 95 percent of what the agent sees in any one week will fall into the "unsuitable" category, for any number of reasons, and the agent can't make any money from manuscripts she can't sell. She also needs to attend to her current clients, as already explained to you.

It's really as simple as that.

If a form letter from an agent "sets up an adversarial relationship," that is an event that takes place in the author's mind, not the agent's. And if the agent knew that the author's adversarial feelings were preventing future queries, the agent would probably count that as a blessing.

Writing is an art, and nobody can stop a writer from writing. But publishing is a business, and everybody who ever became a publshed writer had to learn about and deal with the realities of the publishing business. Like it or not.

David Jarrett said...

@Editor with an Ice Pick:

I appreciate the tone and content of your last post much more than that of your original one. I will try to channel my frustration into more positive action.

My problem is that I have already retired from one successful career in which I was the figure of authority, and I have to admit I am having a hard time having to submit to the rules of others.

I also believe that no system, however hallowed,is perfect. This was true in my former profession, as I am sure it is in yours. There is always room for some improvement, but if no one makes any noise about it, inertia ensures that positive change never occurs.

I think there are other forces on the horizon far stronger than my voice that are going to force these changes, but that discussion goes beyond the scope of this one.

Once again, I do appreciate your response and will learn from it.

Editor with an Ice Pick said...

@ David J:

I think there are other forces on the horizon far stronger than my voice that are going to force these changes, but that discussion goes beyond the scope of this one.

Now that is an interesting conversation!

It has been almost thirty years since Leonard Shatzkin published In Cold Type, a nearly forgotten book that analyzed the many ramifications of publishing's business model. Much has changed since then, but much remains the same, to the disadvantage of authors.

Publishing is a crazy business, and in my experience a good deal of the craziness stems from the business model itself, which remains a consignment model despite the size of the book publishing industry, and despite how far the industry has moved from its genteel beginnings.

In my opinion, it's that genteel aura itself that accounts in part for some authors' demands for hand-holding by agents and editors. (That, and the fact that so many agents and editors are women--you know, people taught and expected to be "helpers" and "people people.") That's why it's impossible--for me, anyway--to take such demands personally, unpleasant though they can be.

Editor with an Ice Pick said...

@ David J:

I think there are other forces on the horizon far stronger than my voice that are going to force these changes, but that discussion goes beyond the scope of this one.

Now that is an interesting conversation!

It has been almost thirty years since Leonard Shatzkin published In Cold Type, a nearly forgotten book that analyzed the many ramifications of publishing's business model. Much has changed since then, but much remains the same, to the disadvantage of authors.

Publishing is a crazy business, and in my experience a good deal of the craziness stems from the business model itself, which remains a consignment model despite the size of the book publishing industry, and despite how far the industry has moved from its genteel beginnings.

In my opinion, it's that genteel aura itself that accounts in part for some authors' demands for hand-holding by agents and editors. (That, and the fact that so many agents and editors are women--you know, people taught and expected to be "helpers" and "people people.") That's why it's impossible--for me, anyway--to take such demands personally, unpleasant though they can be.

Carol J. Garvin said...

That's good advice although it ought to be unnecessary. A sardonic approach is in the poorest of taste in any kind of business environment, but especially in the people-oriented publishing industry. I don't understand how anyone expects to get a positive response with such a negative attitude.

Anonymous said...

David, as a published writer with a string of near-misses and no replies to my queries, I look at it like trying to find a soulmate. Still no agent, but I've found a few friendly agents (3) who do care and take the time to provide constructive feedback. Worth their weight in gold!

You can't click with everyone, but when you do, it's magic.

Andrea said...

I’m a semi-professional short story author, with a small collection of published short stories and a slightly larger collection of rejection slips. I keep all of the rejection notes that look interesting, and if I get more than three rejections I pull the story from submission. Most of the stories I deem ready for publication are accepted on the first or second try.
I suppose it’s a little mean, but I take comfort in reading about people sending in queries like that. It means one less competitor I have to account for. Novels are a little bit harder for me. I’ve got an exciting story, enough short stories published to know I’ve got some writing talent, and I’ve used my 2006 NaNoWriMo novel to build myself a platform. When it’s ready to launch, I expect to see plenty of rejection, but there will be an acceptance eventually.

Anonymous said...

I love your honesty, Andrea! It's true though, all those writers who keep submitting rejected manuscripts without changing it will never get published and it means less competition for writers with common sense!

Andrea said...

Xuxana, thanks so much for replying to me. :) I was a little worried that I'd come across as an avaricious treasure seeker taking joy in the stupidity of others...which is true...but why not celebrate when one less competitor is gone?

If you take out the rude people, the ones that can't follow directions, and the people who don't edit at all...the odds start looking pretty good. ^^

Anonymous said...

If we can't laugh at the stupid. What else is there? I'm kidding! Mostly ;)