Thursday, February 18, 2010

So True

From the intern:

http://internspills.blogspot.com/2010/02/in-which-being-kind-is-soooooo.html


Hundreds of thousands of people want to be published. They all at least think they want our advice. Do we have time to give it? No.

(Unless, of course, we give you a contract. Then just try and get us to shut up.)

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'd like to pile on here and ask EA to make a public service announcement/rant:

Please do NOT look up authors and illustrators home addresses on the internet and send them manuscripts you want published. We are not agents or publishers, and besides it is unprofessional to use someone's home address. Would you send something to an editors or agents home? Publishers all have 'author mail' for people to contact their authors. But you shouldn't send us manuscripts in the first place. We cannot "get you published", and we cannot decide to illustrate your work for publication, and you are just putting us on the spot in an awkward way.

You obviously have internet research skills, so please use them to learn about how the industry actually works.

[no offense to the majority of readers here! I had to get it off my chest]

Anonymous said...

And yet, you know, many editors gave me advice during my years in the slush pile. And I'm grateful to all of them.

I wonder if one of them was you, EA...

lexcade said...

wow that's creepy. the things people do...

i understand the desire to be published and all, but i don't think i'm going to start stalking authors and illustrators. stalking agents is taking up too much time as is.

christine tripp said...

Please do NOT look up authors and illustrators home addresses on the internet and send them manuscripts you want published.

Ohhhh, I hear you Anon 11:48

I give the BEST advise possible to every inquiry to illustrate a non published authors book and some are grateful when I tell them they do NOT need or want to pay for illustration but some take it as an insult to their work.
I put a lot of time and effort into advising writers to NOT go with Publish America or any of the other "scammy" vanity presses. If they wish to self publish, fine, but do it up front, with Lulu or some such.
Still they almost hate me for it, or worse, wash past the advice, as if they never asked me.
There is so much time spent in answering an email and to have it just ignored is a....
Still, I answer, because occasionally, the author replies, "thank you, I had no idea I did not have to include illustrations with my manuscript"
So... yes it's a bit of a pain, but it has it's rewards. An intern could certainly do the same, seeing as how they rep the press.

The Novelist said...

Anonymous,

I can't believe that happened! This world has some crazies in it to say the least!

EA,
I love the link. Someone should publish a book of all the interesting letters that get sent to the publishing houses. That would be an entertaining read for sure.

Anonymous said...

Piling on to Anonymous I's pile-on:

Please also do not ask your recently-found former high school classmates who are now authors or illustrators or even your author/illustrator friends to read or illustrate your manuscripts or recommend publishers. We have no interest in working with you as self-publishers nor any influence that would help you with our own publishers.

Claire Dawn said...

@ Anon, that's got to be the 'politest' rant I've ever seen.

EA, I saw the original post at Intern. It's sad if they are poor old folk as she suspects. For anyone else, I would think it's never been easier to get writing advice with all the blogs out there.

(PS Thanks for being one of them!)

Anonymous said...

Anon 1 here, thanks for the support/sympathy for my rant. Newbies without boundaries really drive everyone nuts on every level. The bottom line is, people can and do get published via all the normal submission routes, and they are very easy to find out about and comply with. And there are many upfront ways to get critiques and advice from pros, like at SCBWI conferences etc.

Personally, it took me many years to be published. In my case it was because my work was just simply not quite up to the bar for being published. Like many folks, I was good but just not good enough, and I needed more time to work at my craft.

The thing about connections is this: even when I freelanced in the industry and knew people [I was shy, so this was people actually asking to see my work] - my work was still getting the exact same rejections as when I submitted. The only difference is that it was more uncomfortable for everyone, compared to getting a form letter or personal note from a complete stranger. So, despite "knowing" a few people in the industry, I never saw any practical reason to focus on that and never stopped doing research and submitting to publishers who I thought/hoped might be receptive. And as chance would have it, I ultimately got published at a publisher where I knew no one, just by sending stuff in via normal submission guidelines.

melanie hope greenberg said...

I have a form letter online for these frequent requests. Do these askers ever buy my books? Noooooo!
I'm hardly ever thanked for the solid suggestions I offer in my form letter. I've had people actually apologize to me years later after their hissy fit was over that I could not get their "story" published. Hey, I want to be an surgeon but I would never ask one to let me help them in the operating room.

Anonymous said...

From a screenwriter, on why people in writing fields don't want to give feedback. F-word ensues, you've been forewarned:

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/archives/2009/09/i_will_not_read.php

Anonymous said...

True what people are saying. 9 out of 10 people who ask for "advice" are being disingenuous. You can take your time to give them really accurate, solid, free, detailed advice, and in response they don't seem pleased or interested. Often you just don't even hear a single thing back [such as: "thanks"]. Why? Because they don't want "advice", they never did. No matter how they phrased it, they truly did expect to be offered a free ride on someone else's coattails, and when it dawns on them that you ACTUALLY aren't going to offer to get their stuff published or hand over the contacts it took you years or even decades to earn - as your "advice", they feel ripped off, like you are somehow capriciously holding out on them.

I swear, if someone approached me and just straight up asked me for free connections, at least I'd actually respect them for not messing with me.

Editorial Anonymous said...

I feel for you guys!

Some of the best advice --in writing, and in life-- is often "keep trying".

But the world is full of people who don't want to keep trying: they want to be done now.

Anonymous said...

I think the problem is the very pervasive myth that you can "only" get published via "connections", and so some people see anyone who works in the publishing industry as their possible golden ticket. Though we tend to get treated more like a scratch off card - the moment it is revealed to not be paying out as expected, they get frustrated and move on.

The manipulation that goes along with with is tiresome, transparent and repetitive. I have had unpublished people engage me in friendly casual chitchat, like at a conference or event, and then very obviously fake-casually ask "what editor do you work with?"

Imagine for a moment I wanted a job in the company THEY worked for, sidled up to them, acted friendly even though I was a stranger, and then asked so, what is the name of your department head/manager/boss?

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 10:38-- I hate this. I've also been e-mailed asking for "advice", written long, detailed responses, then been either ignored or upbraided in response because I haven't offered to Fedex the questioner's manuscript to my editor and agent at once. It drives me crazy, but I keep on doing it. I'm not quite sure why, except I figure that statistically speaking, someday somehow, I might actually send a response to someone who really is just looking for advice, not an express elevator, and is helped by what I say. :)

Anonymous said...

About giving advice -

When asked for basic info I now pass on website names {Purple Crayon mainly} and say that all their questions should be covered there. If not, they can contact me again with a specific question if they were unable to find the answer to it there. I have never gotten recontacted after saying this.

I no longer give "publishing 101" to people. I used to, especially pre-internet, when this info was actually hard to come by, and also because I appreciated that someone once did it for me so I considered it "giving back". But "a dummy is 32 pages" is really not the occult info it used to be - people can find this stuff out within minutes online.

One exception: younger people in general get more time from me, or people that TRULY come off as sincere, polite, and genuine.

Another tactic? Someone I knew gave out an hourly fee for consulting to people when they asked for advice.

Ebony McKenna. said...

I blame the movie 'Can't Stop The Music' where Steve Guttenburg & the Village People got fame & a huge record deal by being really, really keen but dog-turd stupid.
It was fiction, people, not a documentary. Except the add for milkshakes. That was real.

Richard said...

@lexcade, at last someone on EA made me laugh. What an hilarious perspective. I hope you do well!

Richard said...

@christine tripp,

Could your grammar and punctuation be worse? However "nice" a person you may be, what are you thinking??

Editorial Anonymous appeals to good writers and to children's book publishers. If you are abysmal in diction and development, then who are you?

I taught high school, and saw better diction etc. among 16 year olds. No, I am not just dissing you. I want you to rise to the best level, rather than the level you thing ought to bring you financial, rather than literary success.

Do the work to grasp grammar and diction.

Richard said...

Oh My Freakin God,
@Anonymous of February 19, 2010 10:38 PM

You are perhaps the most genuine commenter of anyone on EA.

My life experience is that 9/10 people will, when they sense that their own commitment to you might cause them pain, are quite happy to stab you in the back.

Screw you they think; you were the problem, they argue; and so even as they fail you and rob you, they irretrievably wreck your life.

christine tripp said...

Could your grammar and punctuation be worse?

Probably not:)
It's called Dyslexia Richard and thankfully I don't need grammar (nor the ability to spell, also lacking) in order to be financially successful at ILLUSTRATING kids books:)

AE said...

Go Chris!


(She is really good, too!!)

Barb :)

Richard said...

@Christine Tripp

Okay, I am terribly sorry you have dyslexia. If you illustrate well, then fabulous.

However, you commented here as a regular commenter. To 'spring' your dyslexia, as a defense, is disingenuous. If readers do not know of it, & you allow it to be observable, then do not defend yourself on such grounds! They had no way to know.

Should the World accept terrible performance on the possibility that it is a consequence of what may be a handicap (which is how you are deliberately using it)?

Do not attempt to be expert in things your dyslexia compromises, unless you CAN be expert.

Admit your handicap up front, or apologize when critiqued.

The worst Science essays submitted by my high school students came from an English teacher who was at least as dyslexic (about spelling, diction and grammar) as you. His effort to Teach, in an area in which he was handicapped, would only be redeemable if he ensured his handicap was not a handicap. But, he didn't. So, he wrecked thousands of students' ability with English!

An experienced Track runner has no business coaching Olympic divers, unless he properly understands the skills of diving —which he cannot understand unless he has been an Olympic class diver.

christine tripp said...

Richard, are you for real?
I was laughing the attack off and have no intention of turning someone else's blog into a war of words but why is it so important to you that I (or anyone else) should only express themselves (as you mention I comment often enough) if they can spell or string sentences together correctly?
You must have something better to worry about, if EA cared about such things, she wouldn't allow my comments and contribution to be posted. It's a moderated blog.
She doesn't seem to care, why do you?
I didn't "spring" dyslexia as a defence, it was as an explination to you and your seeming upset over my terrible grammar and diction.
It doesn't bother me that I have it, it's never been a negative in my life but luckily, as I stated, I don't need the particular talent of being able to technically string words together.

>Admit your handicap up front, or apologize when critiqued.<

OK everyone, "hi, my name is Chris and I'm dyslexic"... oh, I'm trying but I can't keep a straight face while I'm typing, haha, this is so absurd it's funny!:)