So, I am thinking of applying for a job as a neurosurgeon. I figure that I am a nice guy. I took a biology class
once. I now what the brain is. I even know my way around the kitchen and have a few very sharp knives I have to work with. I think I am going to send my resume out to all of the major hospitals in the nation to apply for a position as a neurosurgeon. Heck, because I want a lot of money, I want the Chief of Staff in that department too!
But I guess I don't understand?? Why are all of these hospitals ignoring my letters? Why are they sending me a letter back saying I wasn't considered for the job? Was I not persistent enough? Oh, I know! It was simply because I didn't write my cover letter a certain way. Or, maybe it was because the hospital was not open enough to change and grow with the times.
Does any of this make sense?
I am hoping for many of you, as you read this, you are thinking this sounds like the most idiotic person you have ever heard out there. And yet... this is what we get as editors and agents on a daily basis. We spend more of our time reading query letters that do this only to have to spend the time writing rejection letters to these people. We sit at conferences listening to pitches from people like this.
I know what you are saying. "But Scott, this is just a few people out there. The majority of us are not like this." I can't say we can qualify the word majority here, but the point is that there are far too many writers out there just massively sending out those query letters to editors and agents doing just this.
For me, I just don't understand it. The information is out there. Editors and agents have blogs, submission guidelines, websites, publications and interviews. When we go to conferences, we are asked to submit bios with what we are looking for in a story. We tell you this. And yet, writers out there seem to feel that "they are the exception" or "the fault does not lie with them but the lack of flexibility of the publishing business."
There are a ton of people out there trying to do all they can to get you connected with the professionals. Conference coordinators are paying big money to fly these people in. They are spending countless hours typing up those profiles in the pre-conference paperwork as well as the actual conference agenda. They set aside those 1-2 hour long sessions with the editors and agents to get the news across.
We can add in the outside groups that put out publications such as the Writer's Guide To Literary Agents. This is not an easy task.
But wait, what about the editors and agents who are constantly updating their websites with what they are looking for, what they acquire and what they don't want.
All it takes is reading it.
Please note the word I just used. This is a BUSINESS. Publishers and agencies are companies just like all of the other businesses out there. In the "real world" you only apply for jobs that you are A) educated for; B) qualified for; and C) are actually looking to fill this position.
So please, if you are getting rejection letters and are upset by those letters, consider first, did you apply to be a neurosurgeon without the training?
It might be something to consider.