Friday, January 10, 2020

Be Careful Who You Blame

In recent weeks, I have seen an uptick on social media of authors blaming the industry for why they are not getting signed on with an editor or agent. Often, this statement is backed up by other authors who say, "And this is why I am self-publishing." It is the belief that editors and agents are not willing to sign new authors, are closed to new ideas, and simply do not want to help the authors. As some put it, "They are only in it for the money."

But here is the problem.

This is not an issue of editors and agents hating authors or all of us being unwilling to look at new things. We work with what you send to us.

With that material, we assess several things:
  • The quality of the writing
  • The professionalism of the author
  • The ability of the author to convey EXACTLY what their story is about
  • How well the writing is marketable
  • Is this a project we can market
  • Is this a project we even represent
I frequently find that I reject authors who claim they have been working really hard to be published, and yet, submit me things I do not even represent. I am sure these people then go out and proclaim to the world that they got another rejection and this further proves why the publishing world is not accessible.

Sorry, you submitted something I do not acquire.

I also see this from authors who submit multiple projects to me. Every time, I tell them why I am rejecting the project (again often because it is not romance or women's fiction) and then they submit another project doing the same thing.

You will also notice the first item I stated for what we assess for. It is the quality of the writing. There are simply a lot of authors out there who have great ideas for stories, but when it comes to the execution of the stories, it is not there. These are people who need to learn the craft of writing. It isn't a matter of just typing words on a page, but crafting the story, building the story from scratch, using words and phrases to truly paint a picture.

Readers are expecting a well written story. You know this. How often have you quit reading a novel because it was just not good writing. You may have even asked yourself, "How did this thing get published?"

As I noted, we also look at whether or not the story is something that will even sell. One author recently submitted a project that was 350,000 words. No publisher will gamble with an advance on a brand new author hoping to sell books of this size. It is again, not an issue of us hating your writing. It is an issue that the story will simply not sell. (NOTE: Go back and read most of my posts when I reference Shark Tank!!!!)

The reality of the situation is that, rejects are due to something the author has done. It is not favoritism. It is not an issue of discrimination. It is based somewhere in the material you submitted.

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