Monday, July 31, 2017

When Your Story Gets Rejected, Don't Jump To Self-Publishing

Since the start of the serious self-publishing movement, I have seen a lot of authors taking an approach that might not be the best of alternatives. They started publishing their books that had been rejected.

Now, some of you might be thinking, why not do that? The book has just been sitting on your computer taking up memory space, or sitting in a drawer in a file. At least get paid and get published, right? The problem, however, is that the author has not really sat down, in a rational mindset, and determined why the book was rejected in the first place.

I fully get that many of you out there are running blind on this one. The days of editors and agents sending out a reason for the rejection, or for that matter, even sending out a rejection letter is gone. This is just a situation of the times. People seem to think that they don't need to respond unless there is a reason to proceed with that conversation. It is a shame, but that is really the topic of another post. The point being, is that there may be numerous reasons why your story was rejected, and just blaming it on the system is not the right approach.

It is that blame issue that I hear so many authors takes. "You know, my story really fits outside of the box and the publishers [or agents] are just not willing to take a chance on that." Sure that may be the case, but authors need to keep extending that argument.

Why is it outside of the box?

Is it outside of the box because it is so new and unique? That might be the case. There have been a ton of books that have gone on to be amazing, when someone took a chance on it. These were just stories at the cutting edge and the start of a trend.


The more likely reason is that this story is simply not going to be marketable, outside of your small collection of friends.

Let's explore a few other things that may be getting in the way and I'll start with the ugliest.

1) Your writing is bad. There are just many submissions out there that I have received where the writing is terrible. The only thing that would fix the story would be a match. If you are someone who is a self-taught writer, you don't know grammar that well, or writing was only a small hobby for you at one time, this might be the case. Look, writing is for everyone, but publishing is not the case. There are just some people who are not going to be able to write a good book. Unfortunately, that might be you.
2) Your story is poorly crafted. This is not a case of bad writing, but the approach you took with the story is not right for THAT story. I have spoke of that here before. For example. You write a story in 1st person and it would have been better in 3rd person. You use flashbacks and the story does not call for it. This is a plotting issue.
3) You are sending it to the wrong person. Again, I have talked about this one. Far too many authors are simply throwing darts with their manuscripts. You need to do your research and find the best fit for a story. Send it to the wrong person, who may take that genre, but hate that style, and you will earn yourself a rejection.
4) Your pitch in the query or face-to-face story is off. This is about that public persona. Many of you when you write your query letters don't stop to read it as an outsider. Would you really hire this person if you received the project out of the blue. I think many of you would reject yourself.

These are just four reasons, but I think they make a strong point. The second two rejections are the easy problems to fix and may result in positive experiences and successes if you self-publish the book. The first two reasons are the real issue.

If your story is BAD and you put that out there, you just showed the world publicly that you cannot write. Your first impression is that you are a hack writer. To add to this, some of us (the editors and the agents) do go and see what you have written. We get on Amazon. We go to your websites. And, it is there that you showed your true self and proved that your writing was indeed something that we are not going to take.

Again, let me stress, there is nothing wrong with self-publishing. It works for some of you. But it is not the solution to writing a bad story.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Conference Networking IS NOT Just About Selling

Right now, there are a lot of authors in Orlando at the Romance Writers of America conference. This yearly conference is a chance for authors, editors and agents to get together and talk about the business of publishing and romance. It is, unfortunate, however, that many authors are making a huge mistake while at this conference and it all comes down to the concept of networking.

As I said, this conference is about a lot of people getting together and chatting about the business. This is a chance to learn about new projects, hear about great new approaches for writing and so forth. It is all about networking.

Networking is defined as...

to interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one's career

And yet, what are authors doing, they are trying to sell. They are trying to get people to buy their books and their latest lines. Sure, these writers will say that if they can sell that book to the editors and agents, they are going to advance their careers. But this approach is not building that relationship with the editors and agents.

I recently heard a business specialist on NPR talk about this. He noted that this is a huge mistake most people make when they go to conferences. He noted that at one conference, he asked a ballroom full of attendees, how many people planned on selling something at the conference. 900+ people raised their hands. He then followed up with how many people out there were planning on buying something. The room was silent.

Networking, he noted, was about building relationships with other people in the industry. It was about creating a presence and then demonstrating accountability and trust. Once that was done, THEN the selling could happen.

Yes, I fully get that these larger writing conferences hype up the fact that they have opportunities to pitch stories to editors and agents. RWA cycles editors and agents through a ballroom creating those chances. And yet, I have heard, time and time again from other editors and agents that they are not likely going to find stories there. I have spoke of this here on the blog in the past. This is due to a lot of authors pitching when they were not ready, or simply pitching to the wrong person.

When I attend conferences, I do hope to find some new project, but the real focus is about making those connections. It is about sitting down with editors and other agents to hear about their latest projects and ideas. It is about advancing the business.

So, if you are at the conference now and reading this, rethink what you are doing. If you do sell something, great. BUT if you build a new relationship, you can walk away feeling much more accomplished and successful.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Trust Your Gut

Gut instincts! We all know about these little feelings that tell us we should do something, but nine times out of ten, we decide it is probably just a hungry feeling and ignore it. It is only after we have made that decision that we realize that it wasn't that urge to hit the fridge, but your intuition telling us to do something. When it comes to writing, we have to always pay attention to our gut instinct,
especially when it comes to story development.

For those of you who have been following me over on Twitter, you have seen I have spent the last several days working through proposal development with one of my clients. We talked yesterday about her latest project and she realized that all of the extra baggage she was putting in her story came from ignoring her gut instincts. She was trying too hard to do with others were doing in their stories and not listening to the real story her brain wanted to tell.

I find so many authors doing things with their stories that simply are the wrong approaches. I always tell authors that there are no right or wrong ways of doing things in writing, but there are definitely wrong ways. Those wrong ways are when you are ignoring that gut instinct.

So, what should you be looking at when it comes to your writing? Consider the following:
  • Are you writing in a genre because it is the hottest new trend right now?
  • Are you pitching that story to an editor or an agent because someone else told you to do so?
  • Why are having your characters say the things that you have them saying? 
  • Are you putting something in your story because you just saw it on a blog, or heard it at a workshop?
  • Are you adding that sex scene in the story because you have heard that hot is going to sell?
If you are listening to your gut instinct, you will know what to do. Ignore all of these external distractions and just focus on what needs to be done. Listen to your story. 

Trust it and you will be much happier. I promise.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Don't Rush Your Writing

If you are currently at a conference (PNWA 2017 for example) or getting ready to head out to RWA Nationals next week, I want to again remind all of you to not rush! Far too many authors hurry through their writing and rush to get that story to an editor or an agent, and end up sending work that really could use a lot more work. They pitch to editors and agents when they are not ready to make the jump into professional writing. Slowing down may be the best option for you.

Over the years, I have had several authors with some pretty good writing who rushed things. In the excitement of a conference, they pitched stories that were great, but mentally, they were not ready to make the jump. Although they were given opportunities, being unready to move forward was a negative. For three of them, they never returned to the writing they fell in love with. The frustration of not being ready was too much for their writing.

I would also add that many of you will hear things at conferences about new lines, or new editors and agents looking for things and you too will rush to get a project to them. You have this great idea, but now, you end up sending out a story that is not quite right. Maybe the writing is flat. Maybe there are huge plot errors. In your effort to get the idea to them, you simply did not see those mistakes. But you sent it anyway, and sure enough, that story gets a rejection. Had you taken the time to really make sure that piece of writing was great, that rejection may have been an offer.

I know there is a desire to be one of the first to an editor or an agent. I know there is a desire to show that you can work fast. But that rushing may be your downfall. Publishing will always be there. If the story IS really good, there will be people who will be interested. You have to give it time.

It is also important to know that just because you are at a conference and there is a pitch opportunity, it does not mean you need to pitch then. You have to be mentally ready to make the move. Trust yourself. Trust your gut instinct. It is OK to just say no.

Fund Raising Opportunity: ALL Proceeds Go To EQUUS Foundation!

Greyhaus LiteraryAgencyis helping out The EQUUS FOUNDATION!Writers can donate to this great cause&receive a critique! by Scott Eagan

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Writing The Follow Up Query Letter

So, you pitched at a conference and an editor or agent has asked to see more. Now what?

First of all, send the darn thing. We have found that barely 30% of people will send in projects following a request at a conference. IF you took up a time slot and pitched and IF someone said to send more, then DO IT!

This letter though will be different from any other query letter though. You are not going to just crank out your old query letter and you are not going to just repeat everything you said during that 7-10 minute speech. This is about reminding the editor or agent why they thought you were totally amazing.

Begin first with a reminder of when you met and what you pitched. Thank them right from the start and tell them what you are sending to them.

Next, briefly remind them what the story is about. Tell them the characters, the premise, the conflict and maybe the solution.

I should note, that with each of these sections, use terms such as "To remind you..." When we are at a conference, we see a lot of people and hear a lot of pitches. We often do not remember these things. This works in your advantage because you are going to do one more thing.

Continually remind them of all the things they said they liked during the meeting! For example...

As a reminder, this was the story about the little girl who finally emerged from the foster care system and the struggles she faced with becoming adjusted to a family who really cared. You noted that this story was truly inspirational and it reminded you of a friend of yours from high school...

By doing this, you are priming them with only good thoughts so when they read the story, they are already thinking good things.

Now, as you give them the premise/pitch, do not use the memorized version you used. Just give them the basics.

Finally, make sure in the last section to mention the other projects you are working on and can't wait to share these ideas with them as well. Also, if you are only sending a partial, tell them that you would very much love to send them a full manuscript. You can also make sure to tell them to call you if they have additional questions or want to see more. Be accessible!

And one last thing. Send it IMMEDIATELY after the conference. DO NOT go home and start edits or want to send it though your critique group one more time. It should have been ready when you pitched. Even if the editor or agent said that he or she would not get to it immediately because they are taking a couple of weeks off, it will be in the email AND they will see the time stamp of when you sent it. This shows follow through.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Attention Writers: Critique Opportunity!

During the months of July and August, Greyhaus Literary Agency is helping out this great cause. 

During the months of July and August, Greyhaus Literary Agency is giving back to authors out there an supporting a fantastic cause. My daughter, Catherine Poppen-Eagan has been fortunate to compete in hunter/jumper equestrian programs. It is that involvement that got me interested in this program.

The EQUUS Foundation, also known as Horse Charities of America, is the only national charity in the United States solely dedicated to horse welfare and fostering the horse-human bond. Our efforts are focused on closing the gap for America's horses currently at risk, and those potentially at risk when their competitive careers are over by funding programs focused on the rescue, rehabilitation and re-training, and re-homing of America's horses in need, and on increasing job opportunities for horses, including those serving the special needs and veterans communities.

During the month of July and August, Greyhaus is focusing its attention on helping out this great program through critiques. All money raised will go directly to The EQUUS Foundation.

  • Query Letter - $25.00 Donation
  • 3-5 page Synopsis - $50.00 Donation
  • First three chapters - $100.00 Donation

Authors participating in this fund raiser will receive the following:
  • Query Letter - Line comments for the query letter including some general feedback about the over-all project/
  • 3-5 page synopsis. - Line comments as well as some general feedback about the over-all project.
  • First three chapters - Chapter by chapter feedback focusing in on character and plot development. An emphasis will be placed on how the story draws the reader in, in terms of the voice and the pacing. 

For all three projects, this is not going to be an edit looking at grammar, punctuation and spelling. If issues such as this do arise, the critique will mention to look for these items.

NOTE: Please understand that any author submitting material for a critique is not going to be considered for representation. Should an author wish to submit the project at a later time, the author would be free to do so. 

Please also note that the feedback provided in the critique does not guarantee that the author will be published by Greyhaus Literary Agency or any other agency or publisher. The comments and feedback are just the opinion of one person.

I also want to note that this is open to ANY writer. BUT, it is also open to non-writers. Should you be interested in supporting this cause, simply follow the procedures for submitting a manuscript to be critiqued. When I contact you with how to submit, simply reply back and let me know your intent.  

Monday, July 17, 2017

Making The Most Of The Conference Experience

Heading to your first writing conference can be a bit daunting. There is a ton to do. You will feel as if your head is spinning. Your critique partners will be pushing you to push everything you have to every editor and agent out there. You will hear of all of these workshops you want to attend... Ugh, I am exhausted already. Although a conference is and should be tiring, there are approaches that will make the trip well worth it. I am going to use the RWA National conference being held at Disneyworld this year as my model.

First of all, you need to know where you are at in your writing career. Are you still working on that first manuscript? Are you 100% certain that project is ready to hit the shelves? Have you written a couple of manuscripts and changing directions. Each will shape what workshops you attend and what you do. In other words, do not try to do everything.

If you are new to writing, stick with those craft sessions, but only focus on those sessions that you know you are weak in. There will be a tendency to head to these sessions with powerhouse speakers. Look to the topic first.

The topic of the workshop should be something that will help guide where you are at right at that moment in your career. Now, I know there are sessions where you can sit with these big name authors and they chat about their career. While this is certainly entertaining, it is not worth the hour you are spending. Listen to it on the CD after the conference. You paid a lot of money to be there so make it all worthwhile.

I am a big fan of the Spotlight sessions. A lot of authors complain that all the editors do is to talk about their latest books and try to get you to buy their books. Ummmm, yes! They spend the time talking about what they liked about these books. LISTEN!!!! They are giving you hints of the voice and tone they really gravitate to. They will not tell you the plots of the stories they want, but they give you very valuable insight. And, I should note, if they open it up for questions, ask them things. Ask them what their last book was they bought from a new author and what led them to that decision. Ask them out of all of the books their line represents, what they would read on the way home from the conference. Ask them turn ons and turn offs when it comes to plots. On this last one, you'll get a lot of general answers but LISTEN! There will be hints there.

Networking is key. DO NOT travel in packs and just sit with friends. This is especially true at the lunches. Divide and conquer. Sit with new people. Talk. Discuss Shop. Share stories. You might be surprised who you meet.

Now let me explain the whole not traveling in packs. Editors and agents DO wander around. They DO like to chat. They DO come to the lunches. But if I see a larger group gathered together, I do not approach the group. It is just awkward communication. I have also come to lunches and found the entire table is taken up by a group of friends (who, by the way, have been hanging out together all day). Just a hint. I have asked to hear pitches at lunch... but if you want to turn away that opportunity...well that is up to you.

Do not pitch your book to editors and agents WITHOUT doing your research. This means not hanging out around the pitch room and waiting for ANY opening. Only pitch your story to people where your story TRULY fits. If you don't know and are simply guessing, then you are not ready to pitch.

Remember also, you are in public. Everyone is watching. This means to be professional at all times. Yes the bars are tempting, but people have ears.

I remember two conferences where it was just a bit awkward sitting there as an agent. In one case, I was talking to an editor friend and this author comes over. She had worked with this editor and wanted to say hi. She also had a bit more to drink than I think she knew. In any case, in the course of the conversation, she finally asked who I was. Now here is the catch. Her novel is one that I had written about on a post before. It was a book that I had said I personally had not liked but it was something potentially good for other people. Once she heard who I was, she launched into an attack on my thoughts. Hmmm? Not good!

In another case, I was at a reception for a publisher and was sitting at one of those round stand up tables they put up for these things. The idea is it is a place to just hang out. In any case, there were two other writers standing right there at the same table with me. They said hi but went on with their conversations. One author talked about how she was shopping for another agent. Apparently her 4th agent she had worked with was just being a complete jerk and she was looking for something better. Um, awkward, considering I knew who the person was and this author did not pay attention to the fact that my name tag also had agent on it.

Along the same lines, this is a professional conference so BE PROFESSIONAL. You can wear your casual clothes and flip flops at your local writing group meetings, but this is where the big guns are at. Business casual to full business is what you should be wearing. No costumes. No gimmicks. Professional.

The conference is not your writing time. I get really frustrated when I hear people say they sat in their room, or by the pool and got a lot of writing done. Again, you paid how much money to do what you can do at home? Keep a pad of paper with you. On breaks, jot down ideas. But please, leave the lap top at home. Don't think that right after that workshop on conflict development, the conference and your hotel room is the time to fix that issue in your novel. Let it sink in first.

Now the hard one, and this is really where the Disney thing comes into play. Yes, I know the mouse is tempting. I am a Disney Freak. I live for Disney. I met my wife at Disneyland. I have been on a lot of Disney Cruises. I collect Disney pins. BUT you paid money to attend this conference. DO NOT waste the time hitting the parks and skipping out on the conference stuff. Go before. Go after. DO NOT go during the trip.

The key to a conference is to think and use it wisely. These are where you need to be, but if you ignore these basic tips, you are simply wasting your money.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Navigating Proposal Writing

Coming up with ideas for stories can be difficult. Not only do authors have to struggle with finding the right characters and the write plots, it is also an issue of determining whether or not the idea will work well months in advance of when that book would hit the shelves. In other words, what works this month may be out of style when that book would finally be ready for publication. The additional struggle is that the time you are spending working on these new proposal ideas is probably taking away time from your current writing that is doing well.

To truly craft a strong proposal is not easy.  Just saying you have a story idea is not enough. To convince an editor or agent will require providing a lot of depth to that small paragraph or two of your proposal. There needs to be a sense of knowing what will hold that book or series together. There needs to be a sense of what the conflict will be that is going to create that dynamic tension within the story.

As you think of your book, try to conceive how you would market this book. What would the book buyers and the readers be thinking as they see the concept in a catalogue or in marketing campaigns by the company. There needs to be a lot to tease the reader into wanting to buy that book or series.

It is also important to consider what your strengths are as a writer. As you write that proposal, think of how you can blend your current voice into this new idea. Trying to dive into a project that is outside of your normal voice will take a lot more work. The goal is to stick with what you know and tweak it slightly.

Finally, think of the market. How does that story fit with what is currently selling now and what may be selling a year from now. This is going to take some guessing, but you can get pretty close if you are examining the current trends.

There really isn't one right way of putting this proposal together. I think the key is to always just think it though. You can't just wing this one. You have to think of all the nuances of the project ahead of time and be prepared with answers. To truly sell a proposal requires you knowing EXACTLY how you see that finished project looking.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Snowflake Authors

As many of you have seen, in recent months, the term "Snowflake" has become an extremely dangerous word to use in politics. Jessica Goldstein, a culture editor at ThinkProgress on January
19th described the use of the word.

"Before last year, snowflake-as-slang lingered on the fringes of the lexicon. It was a largely non-partisan slight — a mean, though not hateful, dig at millennials perceived to have an outsize sense of their own individuality and, by extension, importance. Helicopter parented to the hilt, millennials supposedly graduated from college (into a dismal economy with unprecedented mountains of student debt) too coddled for this cruel world, ill-equipped to face life’s indignities with dignity.

But as 2016 dawned, snowflake made its way to the mainstream and, in the process, evolved into something more vicious. The insult expanded to encompass not just the young but liberals of all ages; it became the epithet of choice for right-wingers to fling at anyone who could be accused of being too easily offended, too in need of “safe spaces,” too fragile"

CBS Sunday Morning's Faith Salie did a commentary on this yesterday and it got me thinking. While the term certainly has those negative connotations, many of which I do agree with, I think that writers need to consider the term when they think of their own writing. Snowflakes are unique. But is your writing?

When we think of snowflakes, we know each and everyone is made up of the same material. I quickly looked up a quick definition for you.

Water molecules in the solid state, such as in ice and snow, form weak bonds (called hydrogen bonds) with one another. These ordered arrangements result in the symmetrical, hexagonal shape of the snowflake.Mar 21, 2017

And yet, we know that everyone has its own unique pattern and shape.

As writers, you are telling a story in a specific genre. It may be a romance, a mystery, a thriller, or women's fiction. Each of these stories have specific ingredients that make it the genre that it is. This may be character types, specific tropes, etc. But what makes your writing stand out is the voice you bring to it. Your unique style. Your unique twist of characters or plots.

Unfortunately, I see far too many authors not putting that uniqueness forward when they either write their stories, or they pitch their stories to editors and agents. What we get, instead, are carbon copies of another person's writing and voice. These writers are not snowflakes.

When I read submissions or new projects, I look for what makes this story stand out from all of the other projects I see. I look to see what unique twists this author is giving to me in the writing. These are not simply things such as: "My story is set in Zaire and no one has set a story there." or "My story is about alien vampire bunnies in the Ton." The uniqueness is something more.

I was at church yesterday (yes, Sunday was a divine inspiration day) and the pastor was beginning a series called The IT Factor. He was talking about how some people just have "IT" going for them. It is that characteristic that we might now be able to put our finger on. This is what we mean about your writing.

In cooking we talk about the same thing with the term Umami. "Umami is a Japanese word that means "yummy" or "delicious" and it's the name that's been given to what is called the fifth taste. The other four tastes are sweet, sour, bitter, and salty."

As you write today, really examine what you are doing to bring forth your inner snowflake with your writing. As you write that query letter or compose that synopsis, examine to see if you are truly talking about what makes your story unique, or are you simply spinning the same old story everyone else is doing, but just with a new setting.

It might be, the reason for the rejection letters is due to the fact that you and/or your writing, is not being a snowflake.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Workshops Are Not Wonder Cures For Your Writing

I have heard a lot of presenters over the years proclaiming the wonders of their workshops. "This workshop will revolutionize the way you write your novels." This workshop is the definitive guide to selling your manuscript for the highest dollar." or "In this seminar, you will learn everything to make your dialogue be the star of your novel." Unfortunately, when I hear things such as this, I am immediately reminded of those old west snake oil salesmen. These men would tout their products as fixing everything from the common cold to E.D.

Let me just say, there is a slight difference here. These salesmen had products that were far from the cure. These were just great moneymaking ventures. The workshop presenters for your stories are not scam artists, and yes, the things they speak of do work. HOWEVER, there is another twist you need to understand. The proclamations of curing your stories or selling your product immediately are a bit of a hyperbole.

Look, I get that when we put together a workshop, we come up with titles that sell. I know when I have put together presentations, I have tried to come up with a title that will wow the authors. But when I start all of my presentations, I always emphasize the fact that, like everything out there in publishing, there are no quick fixes, easy routes or guarantees. I also note that when it comes to writing and publishing, what works for one person is not going to work for someone else.

If you are a writer planning on attending workshops at RWA Nationals, the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference, or any other upcoming conference, it is important to remember a few things about these sessions.

First of all, these are the opinions of one person. This speaker found some success with the approach he or she took when working on their project. Does that mean it will work for you? Not necessarily. Could there be ideas you can take from the presentation to play around within your own story? Absolutely. I stress this when I do critiques for authors. I always start out by saying to adapt the ideas I am providing to each of their own situations. If something doesn't work with that next project, then don't force the issue.

Secondly, these ideas may be fantastic, but if not executed properly, the ideas will fail. My graduate work in Literacy focused on student learning in a classroom. I looked at the interaction of the teacher, the student, the curriculum, and, the environment on student learning. The one thing I noted was that if one of the 4 variables was not working effectively, student learning WAS NOT a success. The same holds true with writing. An author can have the best story idea, the best tools to work with, but if the writer simply does not have the voice for that story, the story will fail.

I want to stress that I am 100% behind workshops for writers. I want there to be more of these around the nation. I am tired of writers "self-medicating" for lack of a better word, their way to publishing. But, I want to also remind you that you cannot expect to walk out of that workshop, go home and fix your writing. It is not going to happen!

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Help out horses, get a critique!Visit Greyhaus Literary Agency for more information! by Scott Eagan

We really want to help this organization out! If you want to read more about EQUUS Foundation, make sure to visit their website!

I should also add that if you are someone who wants to help, but might not have something to submit, you can still donate. When you get the information from me as to how to submit, just send me a quick email and let me know your plans!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Fundraising Opportunity to Help Horses!

During the month of July and August, Greyhaus Agency is closed to new submissions to help out this great cause.

We want to get the news out about this!

Writers can donate funds to the EQUUS Foundation and, in return receive a critique of a Query Letter, Synopsis or a partial of their manuscript!

ALL PROCEEDS will go to the Equus Foundation!

Make sure to check this out!


Monday, July 3, 2017

Are More Queries Better?

There is a belief that if you send out a ton of queries to editors and agents, there is a better chance you will get that contract or offer. While this might sound appealing, the reality is that this approach is not necessarily true. Yes, sending out your manuscript to several places is great, but publishing is about market research. Mass querying is not using market research.

What so many authors fail to realize is that their stories do not fit with every editor and agent out there. This goes far beyond whether or not the publisher or agency represents the genre. This comes down to the voice of the story and the style of writing. Authors HAVE TO take the time to research where their writing truly belongs in the market.

It is a true waste of time and energy of everyone involved to send out your project to every person out there. I see this all of the time with submissions here at Greyhaus. It seems that authors sit down each day making their submission process a 2 week excursion. "So today, I am going to target all editors and agents with names beginning with an A or B." At that point, they massively send out the same query, the same information, in the same material to every person in that group." The next day they move to the C's and D's.

What is the response? It is going to be one of 3 answers:
  1. No answer at all - There are a lot of editors and agents out there that use the approach "No answer is a no." Personally, and IMHO this is an unprofessional approach but it does happen.
  2. A ton of rejection letters and most will be a form letter. While the authors got a response, the only thing they will get to do is to proclaim to the world and all of their friends that "You know JK Rowling got the same number of rejections that I did."
  3. They actually get a request for more (which in this time and day will not be likely).
This mass mailing approach completely goes against everything the business world has truly mastered after all of these years. Market research insures your product ends up in the right hands, and therefore increases sales. 

If you think of the approach SUCCESSFUL business and HR people talk about when it comes to resumes, cover letters and job applications talk about, it all comes down to targeting your market and personalizing that letter and material. EVERY job application focuses in on how you as a potential candidate for that job is a perfect fit. You take the time to shape your resume to show off those skills. You write the cover letter to highlight the qualifications that employer is looking at in a candidate. 

And, more  importantly, you only apply for the jobs you are qualified in. You don't send out resumes for jobs that you don't have the skills for or the training in to do the job successfully.

And the same goes for publishing. You only "apply" for positions your writing is a true fit.

I am sorry to say, but I will continue to strongly disagree with those out there that believe that the mass mail approach is the way to go. It simply is not!