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Thursday, August 20, 2009

We Can Work It Out

Good Morning Everybody!

This post is going to be a little bit of a plea. A plea for my fellow authors out there to be professional. To go through this road of working to be published in a fashion that is professional, and congenial.

Authors (Writers) are in this world of writing together. We aren't islands. The Simon & Garfunkel song I Am A Rock doesn't apply here. Writers are operating in the same world as each other (and sometimes in the same genre or category). Sometimes what one of us does can impact another (either positively or negatively).

Case in point:

If you're a writer who thinks that they should be able to query any agent or publisher without strictly following their submission guidelines, that your story is so good that they're going to want it regardless of what they feel will sell or what they personally want to represent, then you're making it harder on the rest of us (especially new authors).

I've noticed post after post by agents and publishers (in books, too) where they say "Follow the rules, it'll be better if you do." This is true. Agents almost never have a problem with the author who took the time to research their submission guidelines and only query/submit what they ask. One agent even said they were sorry they had to reject someone's work, but it just wasn't a good fit (for whatever reason, that's not our business, that's between that agent and the author). Some authors have even said "so-and-so rejected me, but it's okay. I still respect and think well of said person." That's a mark of professionalism! That's going to make others look at their name and say "Regardless, this person is going to be business like, this person is going to work with the system. That makes this person easier to work with!"

Folks, we're all wanting to get published. Those of us who want an agent, want quality representation. We don't want to have, as "newbies", a stigma that says: "New authors don't follow the rules." We don't want that, so please, follow the rules. If not for your own sake, for ours who want to follow the rules.

I'm not talking about brown nosing anyone, I'm just talking about respecting the work and preferences of others. Most agents have websites and most of them talk about what they will or won't represent. Some agents even go the extra mile to say that even if they reject you it doesn't mean you don't have talent; that it's just not something they feel they could represent.

If all of us authors follow the rules and are professional and try hard to work with the agents and publishers out there in a smooth fashion, we're more likely to have people smile when they see our names, rather than cringe.

Working together may take time. It may take rejection letters. It may take putting ego aside. But it's not impossible.

We can help each other by respecting the preferences of publishers and agents and each other. Yes, there's competition, but it doesn't have to get ugly. We can compete with each other while working with each other. We can even encourage and support one another.

Like I said, you're not an island. There's other writers, agents, publishers out there. Working together will help. Following preferences and respecting one another will help. Even if you get tons of rejection letters it's still possible to work together. So please, work together. Be professional.

Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Have A Team-Working Thursday!

11 comments:

J.J. Bennett said...

I agree. It's how the world will see you as an author... How do you want to be seen? Thanks for the post!

bethanyintexas said...

J.J.--

You're welcome! Thanks for reading and supporting/encouraging me.

J.J. Bennett said...

Anytime Bethany...I gave you some of my characters to peek at from yesterday's post too.

bethanyintexas said...

It was fun meeting them J.J. Thank you for sharing!

Regina Milton said...

Wow. I'm glad you put this on your blog. What you say is very true and it is the very thing that always baffles me. I read agent blogs that have tons of comments on "following the guidelines". I think that there are some authors out there that don't do the research before they start querying and thus give us all a bad name. If you do the research, you'll find the answer. There is pretty much no excuse.

bethanyintexas said...

Regina,

Exactly. Thank you for your comment.

Stephanie Faris said...

Great...only problem? Just like everything those agents say on their blogs, it will be heard by those of us who are following the rules already and completely missed by those who aren't. As the agents have said...the repeat offenders aren't on here reading blogs and bettering themselves. They're winging it, their arrogance convincing them they don't need advice.

Although this stuff is great for new authors...those just starting out who are trying to figure all this stuff out.

J.J. Bennett said...

So true...The ones screwing everything up are the ones who don't do the research.

bethanyintexas said...

I don't know. I've seen some of the writers who want to wing it on some of those agents' blogs commenting annoymously. So you never know. Maybe one of them will read the messages and understand. Gotta keep hoping!

Ciara Gold said...

Great post. Someone once said this is one of the few industries where we help the opposition gain a foothold. Usually writers are the most generous with their time and advice. Even agents take the time to let writers know how best to submit. I love writing because I can create my own world but I also love writing for the community and fellowship it provides. Very few of us could ever do it alone. You are so right with that comment.

bethanyintexas said...

Ciara,

Wow. Thanks for dropping by again. I'm truly honored to have you. And I agree, I like to make up my own worlds and characters (I've noticed you have an incredible imagination from having read "Celestial Dragon").

And I have noticed that many writers and agents are willing to help each other out. I think that's truly wonderful!

Again, thank you for the support and encouragement!