Ever read blogs and website commentary from established writers? I do, but there are days when I wish I didn’t. It never fails to astound me at how arrogant and condescending some of these popular writers can be. Now before I continue, let me say that for the most part, the well-established authors out there are kind and helpful to aspiring writers. Unfortunately, we have those on the other side who, for whatever reason, choose to give bad advice. Even worse, they seem determined to squash the dreams of new and unpublished writers. Shame on you, you too were once a struggling newbie.
I cringe every time I read these phrases, ‘Do not do online publishing/ebooks. This does not make you a published author. If you cannot get into print with a commercial publisher, you are not good enough.’
After the above statements, they will then go on to give you the statistics showing just how difficult it is to get published by these commercial publishers, as if most aspiring authors don’t already know how difficult it is. The phrase ‘you are not good enough’ is the one that annoys me the most. This may be true in some cases or even in many cases. Sometimes your manuscript may not be good enough. Although, judging by some of the atrocious crap being published by these large publishers, I can’t even imagine what could be ‘not good enough’.
Don’t listen to this BS. If your dream is to be published by a large commercial publisher, don’t query on your first draft. Rewrite, edit, have it critiqued, rewrite/edit again–then make a list of all of the reputable agents out there who represent the genre your manuscript fits in and query all of them. The reason for trying to get an agent is simple. Most large publishers only deal with agents—not writers. If every reputable agent out there rejects you, try querying the publisher directly if they accept such queries. If you are rejected by all of them, rewrite your manuscript and have it professionally critiqued and edited, then try again. You may need to write a new and better story and begin the process all over again. Or you can begin to query the smaller presses and yes, (yikes!) even the e-book publishers. Your choice—your decision. Just don’t let anyone who hasn’t read your story tell you that you are not good enough. How would they know if they’ve never read it? And don’t be discouraged by the form rejection letters you will undoubtedly receive. After all, most of these editors have never read your manuscript either. Most rejections are sent after receiving a query letter. Sounds frustrating, doesn’t it? Well, no one ever said building a writing career was a like a day at the beach.
I know exactly how frustrating it is. Although I have been a professional writer for years, having had articles, stories, and poetry published in newspapers, magazines and textbooks, I am a new aspiring novelist. It would be impossible for me to be published by a large commercial publisher of fiction. I don’t query them. I have queried exactly three major publishers of romance. One sent a form rejection letter in reply to a simple query letter. It wasn’t right for their editorial department. How did they know, they hadn’t read one single word of it? They knew because I had not been previously published in full-length fiction. That’s all that mattered to them. Another asked for the first three chapters and a synopsis. They sent a very nice letter telling me what a fine writer I am and how much they enjoyed the beginning of my story, but they had no line in the sub-genre my story was in. Kudos to that editor for explaining why I was being rejected. A class act, if ever there was one. The last publisher asked for my entire manuscript and kept it for almost a year before rejecting it. I wouldn’t have minded that except they said they’d get back to me within ninety days and they were looking at it on an exclusive basis, which means I couldn’t query anyone else at the same time as they had it. Another pet peeve of mine: No simultaneous submissions. Hum bug. I have a life too. I wrote a post on this once before and I will post it here later.
I made a decision to not query them anymore. That was my choice, you must make your own. I also made the decision to not buy their books. I was so sorely disappointed in the last few I read that now I search the net for small press print and e-books written by new exciting writers. I have been very pleasantly surprised at the tremendous talent out there.
Keep writing and good luck!
E. G. Parsons