Saturday, September 19, 2009

A plea to other aspiring authors

Dear Aspiring Authors,

We're all in a tough boat here, I know. This is a game of persistence, talent, hard work and not a small amount of luck. We are all trying the best we can to get ourselves out there, and I firmly believe that this is not a zero-sum game. The potential success of my book, I hope, does not take away someone else's potential success.

That said, I was sadly disappointed to read the following in agent Jennifer Jackson's blog:

I have noticed more people are querying:

* Without having a finished and polished manuscript to show
* Before doing sufficient research into what the agent handles or explicitly is not interested in seeing
* Not even remotely following guidelines and supplying the information an agent needs to make an assessment

Why are people doing this? Querying this way is breathtakingly stupid.

So, please, if you are one of these people, I have this to say to you:


All you are doing is pouring bacon grease down the drain. You make it harder for all of us by clogging up the system, wasting agents' time, and making more and more of them decide to close to submissions.

It's this last one that really hurts all of us.

Let me tell you all a story. When I was in college I had a problem with one of my classes, and wanted to talk to the professor about resolving it. Unfortunately, right before I spoke to him, another student with a similar problem thought the best way to deal with it was to scream and swear and pitch a red-faced fit. When I had a chance to talk with the man, he was already in such a state over the fool in front of me, he had no interest in listening to me. I was lumped in with the rest. The fact that I was trying to do things correctly and politely and find a mutual solution didn't matter. Fortunately, I was persistent and went back a week later, and with the professor in a calmer state, he was willing to work with me.

Please, fellow aspiring authors, stop being that guy. Stop breaking the system for the rest of us.

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