Anton Strout (antonstrout) wrote,
Anton Strout
antonstrout

Some helpful advice to my heathen wanna-be writer friends out there

So I have this “friend” on Facebook who emailed all her “friends” for a call to action.  It seems her manuscript has been over at Razorbill, one of Penguin’s YA imprints, and since it’s been about five months, she’s asking EVERYONE she knows to write letters or email Razorbill to tell them to please publish it.  She also encourages everyone to write multiple times to them!

I’m not sure if it’s obvious to you, but I think it bears saying nonetheless:

People, writers-in-training, hopeful submitters…?  Please for the love of all that is holy do not engage in this type of behavior.

I happen to work in the adult side of the Penguin building (outside of being an Ace author).  This type of practice is more likely to go terribly wrong and get your manuscript tossed.

I understand that you've been waiting awhile (and five months really isn’t that long a while, even though every day is a painful death to the hopeful young writer), but that's what publishing is... waiting. And it's a business. Filling an editors mail box or email with "fan" mail of an unpublished book MIGHT come off as a bit crazy or desperate. I know my editor there would freak. Yea, it gets you noticed, but not necessarily in a good way.

I pointed this out to her, saying I could be full of beans, I suppose… I mean, hey, it’s possible they’d see it as all spunky and determined and PUBLISH HER BOOK OMGWTFBBQ!!!1!

But I really don’t think that’s how an acquiring editor is going to read all that overstuffed mailbox stuff that’s keeping them from getting to their to-be-read pile of manuscripts in the first place.  So I had my say, and wished her luck.

She replied back to say thanks for the support but one, it was too late to turn back, and that two, the worst that could happen is she gets a no, followed by a “big deal there are many other publishing houses out there.”

People- let me say that the worst that could happen isn’t just a simple no.  The worst that could happen is you earn a reputation at one of the largest publishing houses in the states by your ill-thought antics as a bit of a whack job.  Yeah, you can take it elsewhere and try, but editors and such all talk to each other across the industry.  And let’s say no one buys this book… and you write another.  What have you done now?  You can’t submit to them again, can you?  You’ve already earned a reputation…

 I get it.  I’ve been there, wanting desperately to have someone say yes or no.  Wanting to find a clever way to get them to move their asses… but a little civility and patience go a long way.

She kind of petered out with a you gotta do what you can to make your dreams come true kinda thing at the end, and that’s about the time I realized it was all wasted on her, but I hope this example helps some of you realize what NOT to do.

 Oh, and the kicker?  She then offered to send the first five chapters along!  Sigh…

 Share at will.

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