I blame matociquala for this… (though I suppose if I’d just gone straight to the paperwork after my last post and not decided to take a few minutes to skim LJ entries, it wouldn’t have happened). In any case, she posted a slightly cranky entry (excerpt follows in italics):
It amazes me sometimes, how many writers don’t seem to get that they have to impress the guy with the checkbook, and not the other way around. Editors, on the other hand, seem pretty clever about remembering that they have to impress their customers–the reading public.
I think it can be difficult for some writers (espcially those who are earlier on in their careers) to separate the art of writing from the business of writing (which I guess is what franzeska was talking about). As an agent, I get a lot of the same sorts of things you’re talking about – the lack of what basically amounts to professional behavior. And, frankly, that doesn’t tend to encourage one to envision having a business relationship with people who can’t follow submission guidelines or think they only apply to all the other writers (I actually have a Peanuts cartoon on that topic on my filing cabinet). For agent/editors, this *is* their day job.
(While I was re-reading this, it apparently hit a hot-button of mine — so I’m going to take that over to my LJ and post the cranky bit there….)
And here’s the rest….
I think one of the other things that writers tend to forget is that old economic principle of supply vs. demand: there are more writers out there than available publication slots, so given the choice an editor/agent likely feels they have the option to find someone who appreciates writing as both a craft and a job. In any industry, when a person wants a highly sought after position, it’s pretty much assumed they’ll put their best foot forward to get it. They’ll polish their resume. They’ll do their best to look professional. They’ll smile when they talk to you (and not complain about how hard it is to get the job in the first place). Think about it from the other side of the fence…. What kind of person would you want presenting your material to an editor from those corporate megaliths we refer to as publishing companies?
And before I go….one of my pet peeves…. Writers who feel they have the inarguable right to be published. It’s true that as an agent there’s a bit of an odd thing that occurs when you get to choose the writers on your list, but you’re not the employer (they are). But I’ve gotten letters which are confused about that whole choosing bit. I’m sure editors must get them too. I’ve even had entire manuscripts sent to me with a cover letter that indicated I was hired. The first time that happened I was just stymied. And, I have to admit, a bit insulted on behalf of all the writers who were paying their dues, going the route of queries, rejections, and submissions — doing the networking, learning the craft…. Needless to say – trying to jump ahead in line is not a habit that’s considered professional (along with ignoring rejections — that’s always a good one), and not something that encourages one to seek out that particular author who apparently either thinks they’re too good for the rest or just simply hasn’t bothered to take the time to get educated about the business.
Okay….that really got away from me. *laughs at self* And now I really must grab a snack and then get back to my marketing, etc.