What Did You Learn?

March 4, 2010

Getting Published: It’s All In The Tone

Filed under: Getting Published — Tags: , — ax20 @ 11:08 pm

You know how people say “it’s not whether you win or lose but how you play the game” and “it’s not what you say but how you say it.” There’s a reason those are old sayings. They are very true. The how is extremely important.

We got a submission at work where the idea sounded like it had merit. The author, however, used his query to bash his past publishers and then write about the awesomeness that is his own writing. Needless to say, we were instantly turned off. We went on to read some of the actual manuscript because it was a slow day and we were kind of curious to see if he had the writing talent to back up his arrogance. He didn’t. He continued to make it seem like he was insulting everyone in a “you are privileged to have the opportunity to read my great work” sort of way.

In case it wasn’t obvious, we rejected his work.

Keep in mind when you are writing a query or proposal, that as much as agents and publishers need writers, you need them even more. There are a seemingly infinite number of writers and a much more limited group of agents/publishers. You want to make sure not to piss them off or insult them. No one wants to work with someone difficult and when there are tons of other authors to choose from, you could easily get your submission thrown into the garbage pile before its even opened. Don’t give them a reason to write you off. You want to make people WANT to work with you. If they like you they will feel more inclined to want to like your work.

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