Monday, March 30, 2015

Ridiculous Submissions I Have Received

Writers continually amaze me when it comes to submissions. Apparently there are people out there
who believed the things Reese Witherspoon did in Legally Blonde were great ideas for submissions. I am starting to wonder if there is someone out there teaching a workshop on inventive ways to get editors and agents to read your projects. Of course, the funny part is that these techniques are never going to work. In fact, you would be lucky to even receive a rejection letter back.

I know many agencies (and publishers) will often keep a wall open in their office known as The Wall of Shame where they post these ridiculous approaches authors have taken. In fact, we are often asked the question of some of the craziest approaches authors have taken to get their writing in front of an editor and agent. This is always a great laugh for everyone in the audience, although I think some people might not be listening correctly and think we are saying these are great approaches.

Just for a morning giggle, here are a few I have seen (or heard of):

  • A self help book on dieting where the author sent the manuscript on a flash drive. Um, yeah! Right! Do you really think I am going to put that flash drive on my computer? With the computer viruses out there, this is like unprotected sex!
  • Sending the complete manuscript completely bound with a spiral bind and plastic cover to multiple agents. Let's think people. This is costly. I calculated the total on this one and it came to close to $10.00+ dollars for each submission. 
  • Pitching their project at a conference in costume. This isn't Let's Make A Deal people!
  • Sending a submission claiming I asked for it at a conference. Of course this is for a project I don't even represent and from a conference I didn't attend. 
  • The infamous Pitch in the Bathroom. Although this hasn't happened to me, I do know of many of my colleagues who have been blessed with this approach.
  • Sending candy and other food items in the submission. This one is like that flash drive approach. Not eating it, that's for sure!
  • Emailing the same project every week and making the comment that they do this in case I might change my mind on the project and they know "agents like persistent writers."
  • Finding me on an airplane going to a conference and trying to pitch to me between the flight attendants doing their food service.
  • I had one person say Oprah was considering me for her Book Club, This author probably sent it to the production company as a slush pile submission. 
Now we add in the people who just submit ridiculous projects clearly not reading the website:

  • Submitting a 22,000 word, 77 page "novel". Honestly, I struggle with getting the numbers to work here. Not only that, this person has written several novellas so now I wonder how big those were?
  • Doctors and lawyers who should be able to do research sending projects that aren't romance and women's fiction (and this is directly from the website using my submission form).
  • Writers submitting self-help and how-to books on the publishing industry to me (again, not romance or women's fiction). 
  • The memoir of supposedly the love child of Princess Grace and JFK. Spoiler alert... she has been in hiding all of these years because the CIA is after her. 

This is what makes my day exciting.
For those of you editors and agents, chime in here. Toss in a few of your gems.

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