Elizabeth Melton Parsons


Arrogant BS From Established Writers


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 Even worse, they seem determined to squash the dreams of new and unpublished writers.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




Author: Elizabeth Melton Parsons

I'm a novelist, poet, and artist. I love books, nature, art, and gardening. I'm a rock hound and there's a photo of me with a cool fossil rock on my about page, I take a lot of nature pictures. The background here is one of mine. Unfortunately I recently lost my wonderful husband, but I'm grateful to have the blessing of two beautiful sons. elizabethmeltonparsons.wordpress.com is © Elizabeth Melton Parsons 2007-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Elizabeth Melton Parsons with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

6 thoughts on “Arrogant BS From Established Writers

  1. I think this is a worthy topic of discussions, Elizabeth.

    I’ve just posted a novel on my blog out of sheer frustration from dealing with editors/agents, finding one that would give me more than a minute of their day. And I’m a guy with many professional credits, a 20+ year career as a writer, two film adaptations based on my work in development…but I STILL couldn’t get my foot in the door.

    So after spending two years shoving the MS of my supernatural mystery/noirish thriller SO DARK THE NIGHT at people, I got tired of it. “Bypass the bastards,” my wife suggested. And so we started the blog as a venue for my writing. That was a year ago and the experiment has been a tremendous success. I submit very little now–my blog gives me a platform, access to (potentially) millions of readers. And by publishing my work myself, I don’t have to deal with interfering editors, indifferent agents, etc. Just me…and my Readers. How great is that?


  2. That’s pretty darn great, Cliff. I’ve self published before and the best part is only having to deal with readers, which isn’t a chore–it’s a pleasure. I’m always submitting something somewhere, but I don’t bother with the large commercial publishers, because I refuse to send anything on an exclusive basis and then wait months or even years for a response. I will send an exclusive to other venues, but after ninety days…I move on. I’m going to check out your blog and your book. Love thrillers. Elizabeth


  3. Thanks, Elizabeth. I think we are on the same page as far as large publishers go. But I’ve had manuscripts held at small press places for eons, as well. Without an agent, a writer these days is treated like a faceless leper by the publishing establishment. Funny how many ex-editors and agents become authors–a case of who you know, don’t you think? Great exchanging views with you…


  4. Fortunately, most of the “name” authors I’ve come across have bent over backwards being helpful, though I’ve also seen the kinds of comments you’re talking about.

    By the way, if you do give the query route another chance, agent Noah Lukeman has posted a free download on Amazon called “How to Write the Perfect Query Letter.” Boy, that was an eye-opener. Sure, it’s subjective and the method he advocates might not work for everyone, but the advice is not only very specific, it includes some interesting reasons why agents are more likely to reject an MS than bother reading the entire cover letter.

    Interesting post, Elizabeth! Good luck, Cliff, with your blog approach to the publishing “game.”



  5. Hey Elizabeth,
    how great it was for you to write this entry! Even in the most talented unpublished author, there can be a certain kind of bias toward other writers who are equally snubbed by mainstream presses.
    Indeed, there are tons of really, horribly bad novice writers out there, but also so many brilliant people who are being ignored because they don’t have the right contacts, they don’t know the right people in the industry, and most of all, because their work is actually original and fresh.

    When I first started my blog over a year ago, I had the privilege of having Cliff visit and make some encouraging comments. I then went on to read some of his stuff, and wow! was my first reaction. His writing was amazing, clean, so well-thought-out that every word, sentence, paragraph looked “finished”, ready for publication. I have since encountered a number of other amazing new writers, who for whatever reason or another, have to rely on self-publishing or other means.
    I’ve written quite a few blogs on this, but the jist of it is, I think we need, no, we MUST keep pushing and lowering the barrier, the distinction between “Published” (i.e. REAL writer), and “self-published” (i.e. untalented riffraff). Self-publishing, self-marketing are key, as you know – which is why blogging, e-presses, etc, are so important.

    And as for “no mutual submissions” – blah! As if I give a rat’s ass what they think. I am one of those horrible, wretched people who actually DO submit the same pieces to multiple venues. And let me say here that I’ve never been offered simultaneous publication – and never had the same piece appear in two different journals – since as we all know, editorial preferences are notoriously eclectic and biased, to say the least.

    So all this to say – just keep it up! 🙂


  6. Hi, Elisa. Thanks for stopping by and leaving such an awesome comment. I couldn’t agree with you more. Cliff is indeed an amazing writer and should long been published with a large commercial publisher. Their loss. And yes, even talented unpublished writers can be biased. I’ve seen it on so many forums and loops. They can be especially harsh to those who decide to submit and accept contracts by the small press or e-book publishers and can become downright nasty to anyone who decides to self-pub. This kind of attitude is ridiculous. It’s really none of their business how or with whom anyone else decides to publish their work. I’m anxious to read some of your posts, so heading over to your place now. Thanks again, Elizabeth.


“Our opinions do not really blossom into fruition until we have expressed them to someone else.” ― Mark Twain

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