Monday, November 12, 2007

Umm, Hello?

Okay, today is the day gave as their "we'll send you an official email letting you know that your entry qualifies for our Breakthrough Novel Contest" and the chat forums on Amazon are absolutely buzzing.

This is the first day I've actually headed over there. I dislike reading chat forums as a general rule.

As I was browsing, I remembered why I dislike chat forums so much.

One contest entrant went on a rant about the sorry state of the publishing world today and how all the literary agents out there weren't giving the time of day to someone with a, and yes, I'm quoting, "fairly decently written novel".

Umm, hello??

You think you're going to get published with what you yourself admit is a "fairly decently written novel"?

Get real. Grow up. Learn your craft. And for Pete's sake, stop whining that you just want an agent to read your work, see past the amateur blunders (again, I'm not making this up, folks) and say, "Hey, you've got talent. Let me help you."

Go to some writing conferences. Meet some actual agents. Get some sort of feel for the massive scope of your competition and then go back to work.

There are thousands of would-be writers out there, all of whom think their "fairly decently written novel" should be good enough to get on the shelves. A literary agent I spoke with once averaged over 100 new queries/submissions on her desk every week. Do you honestly think that a novel with amateur blunders is worth her time?

Seriously, folks. You don't get to publish a book simply because you want to. You don't get personal time with a literary agent who isn't going to make a dime from you. This is where art meets business. To be successful, you have to master both.

At the moment, if you're proudly clinging to your "fairly decently written novel" and crying about the lack of response from the publishing world, I would say that you have mastered neither.

Learn how to write a tightly-paced page turner, learn how to query, learn which agents handle your genre, find a critique partner who is unafraid to rip your precious baby to shreds where it needs it, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, and then maybe you'll have something that will make the publishing world sit up and take notice.


  1. Oh well said. I hate reading whiny posts from would-be writers who lose their temper over a couple rejection letters.

    Show me one bestselling author who didn't get a couple rejection letters.

    The difference is that those bestselling authors had the persevearance to suck it up and get back to work until they had something worth publishing.

  2. *applauds* Well said.
    I'm thinking I'll keep to myself when we get the emails. I'm not interested in participating if people are going to be like that.

    "Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open it up and remove all doubt."

    -Mark Twain

  3. Additionally -

    That contestant just shot themselves in the foot, who would want to work with them? All these people who think that literary agents and such aren't paying attention to this contest and stupid people who open their big mouths.

  4. I don't know exactly what you mean by keep to yourself...if you mean avoid amazon chat I'm all for it.

    But if we're in, we're going to announce it and publicize it because we are proud of our work and because we are professionals and have nothing to be ashamed of in this contest.

    And people like him just narrow the competition for us. =)

  5. *laughs* Yup, I meant stay out of the chat room/message board thing.


  6. Like I said, I blame it on the drug cocktail the dr. has me on.

    I get loopy just from Tylenol, nevermind all this other stuff... ;)


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