Thursday, August 7, 2014

Read The Submission Guidelines, Please!

I know I always complain about this, but it is time to do so once again. Please read the submission guidelines and follow those guidelines for EVERY editor and EVERY agent you want to send your project to.

Just last month, I closed submissions long enough to get through a couple of major conferences. I really had thought that during that time, I would continue to get submissions from people, but I have to say, the writers surprised me. Other than my weekly "You have won 6.5 million dollars" in some random foreign country lottery, the submissions just didn't come in. I thought, "Hey, these people are reading the submission guidelines and maybe we are making headway."

So I re-open the submissions at Greyhaus on a limited basis. As I noted, for a brief period of time, I am only going to be looking at authors who want to write for Harlequin. I also noted that I only wanted submissions coming in using my online form:

This seemed pretty straightforward. 

And yet, within hours of the news being posted on the blog and then eventually on Twitter and FB, I was suddenly flooded by writers A) not using the form; and B) submitting Memoirs, Self-Help books, Sci-Fi novels and so forth. 


I will be honest. Submission guidelines are not there because we had nothing better to do. We put these there to guide YOU, the writer, to make clear decisions as to who you want to submit to. Submitting a project that is simply not something we acquire is not going to work!

I have actually heard authors make the comment, "It can't hurt to try" is ridiculous. It is a waste of your time and certainly a waste of the editor/agent's time as we work our way through our emails. 

What I also find interesting is that this problem extends to conferences and pitches as well. Time and time again we see authors who pitch projects to editors and agents that are not what we acquire and when we say no, they make the comment, "Well I figured I would try anyway even though you didn't acquire it." Look, I understand when someone doesn't understand the genre or know what he or she writes (actually I don't get that but I am willing to over-look it due to inexperience), but for those of you submitting because you want to:
  • show you are proactive
  • show you are thinking outside of the box
  • get us to change out model
honestly it isn't going to work.

This is one of those things that is simply "not rocket science. It is simply a matter of reading and following directions. And for those of you who like to brag about how many "rejection letters you get" I would not count those you got because you did something like this. That doesn't show the challenges of the publishing world. That shows the challenge you might have of reading directions. 

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