Monday, February 24, 2014

Where Did Professionalism Go In Publishing?

There are honestly days that I dread opening my email to read submissions. Yes, in some cases it is simply because I know I have been busy with other projects and I know how many are waiting there. But that is really not the biggest dread. The annoyance I face are the number of emails that I will answer that demonstrate some of the worst cases of professionalism out there. In fact, I am going so far as to award a "Blog Flog" to this new breed of author.

It seems that the new breed of writer out there seems to believe that "the story is the whole thing." In the end, nothing really matters except for the actual piece of writing. So, with blind abandon, they crank out form letters that sound like "cranked out messages to their BFF's from summer camp." These writers do everything we speak about at conferences and write in articles of what "our worst query letters look like."

Now don't go telling me that these writers are living that deep in a hole. They found my email address on the internet! They sent the query using my submission form so they have been to sites that talk about the things you should and should not do in professional correspondence.

I do believe much of this problem is stemming from our efforts as professionals to be available almost instantly in the digital realm. These authors have written their stories so all they need to do is "cut and paste" email addresses to the TO: line of an email, attach that manuscript and "bada bing, bada boom" they are on their way to that publishing career.

Look, I get it! Writing a query letter that showcases your great writing is tough. I get that insuring you have a product that is worthy of the mass public seeing it is tough. But think about it. You did spend how many months slaving over your story making it the best that it can be. Why can't you do that with a single letter?

Or, maybe the real issue is that the query letter is demonstrating your writing ability! Maybe your story shows the same command of professionalism and craftsmanship that your submission shows. If that is the case, the maybe I shouldn't worry so much about the time it takes for me to answer back and say "no."

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