Monday, October 25, 2010

Rejection Guidelines for Agents?

Disclaimer: The following idea is coming to you fresh off four consecutive rejections in my email in box.

Having just finished my newest novel, I decided to jump back into the fray and try to secure an agent. I haven't tried this in about a year so I'd forgotten how bitter that rejection pill could taste. Like I said, I've been through this many times so I know what the cycle is going to be. At first, I start out hopeful. Then I get those first few rejections and a little of the hope fades, but I take it with a smile. By the end of the next round of rejections, I'll be alternating between crying and cursing. At the moment, I'm in the semi-hopeful, taking it with a grain of salt and sort of amused about it stage. In this stage, I hit on what I thought was a brilliant idea. Why not have guidelines agents must follow when rejecting writers?

Think about it. As writers, we're expected to follow an agent's submission guidelines to the tee or our project will be automatically eliminated. And no two agents want the same thing. One wants a two page synopsis while another wants a ten page synopsis. One wants the first three chapters, synopsis and query letter while the other wants the first fifty pages or first three chapters or whichever is less. Some even go as far as to have formatting guidelines- typed, double spaced, one inch margins on all sides, Times New Roman font, etc. If we have to follow their guidelines, maybe they could follow some for us.  Here they are:

1) Do not use form letters or canned responses when rejecting an author. As a courtesy, please address the specific author you are rejecting along with the title of the rejected work.
2) Do not use standard phrases like "not a good fit for us" or "doesn't fit our current needs".  This is really just a canned response that you've copied and pasted from thousands of rejections you've sent.
3) If you use the phrase "keep trying because another agent may feel differently", please be advised that you are expected to recommend the other agent whom you feel would be a good fit. In fact, you should get the ball rolling by forwarding the project to the potentially interested other agent.
4) You must give a brief summary of the reason for rejection as it relates to the novel. Canned responses will not be rejected. See items one and two.
5) Finally, when rejecting an author, please include a SASE so that the author may contact you to discuss the rejection.

Okay, there they are. Please take this as it is, a joke. Of course agents are inundated with submissions and can't really be expected to follow something like this and properly serve their clients.  Still, on those days when I'm wallowing in the self-pity brought on by multiple rejections, it makes me smile to think about it. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Celebrity Writers? Are you kidding me?

Tyra Banks, Snooki, Rick Springfield, Forrest Griffin, Justin Bieber, Lisa Rhinna, and Hillary Duff.  What do these names all have in common besides the fact that they're celebrities? They're either published or about to be published authors. That's right. They're using their names to cash in on getting a book deal, and the publishing industry is letting them. Actually, the public is letting them too. Because these people are famous, we want to devour everything they have to offer us, whether it makes sense or not.

As a writer, I find this deplorable. Every day that I hear about another celebrity getting a book deal, I die a little inside. I'm a little more forgiving when it comes to autobiographies, but I have absolutely no tolerance for singers, dancers, actors, athletes, etc, penning fiction novels and expecting us to read them and like them. Explain to me how Tyra Banks being a supermodel and talk show host and reality host makes her qualified to write young adult novels. Why would we want to read a book about a spray tanned heroine and her catty conquests? I'm talking to you Snooki. Rick Springfield is one of those in the autobiography category. Though I said I'm a little more forgiving of this, I find myself wondering one thing. Um, how long has it been since Rick Springfield was relevant and interesting?  And don't even get me started on You Tuber turned boy wonder Justin Bieber.  What business does a sixteen-year-old have writing about his life thus far?  None!

Whenever I go off on this rant, my husband always tries to reign me in by telling me it's part of the celebrity culture and I just have to accept it. Of course he's right, which I find as irritating as I find the concept of celebrity turned author. In this business, the unknown aspiring author will hear no a thousand times more than she'll hear yes. Writing articles on spec and begging agents to read our work only to be shot down is all part of that thing called paying our dues. Not only are celebrities not paying their dues, but they're shutting out fledgling authors who may have true talent. No wonder the rest of us can't get invited to the party.

I'll close with this.  I'm sure there are some celebrities turned authors that do have literary talent. I'm thinking of Jaime Lee Curtis and her great children's books here.  However, it's my firm belief those are the exception and not the rule. So famous people, if you're listening, please do the rest of us a favor and stick to what you're really good at. If you do, the rest of us born to write may have a shot at getting that publishing contract you took from us.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Inaugural Blog

Welcome to the official blog of Trish the Writer, AKA, Trish Edmisten.  For many months now, I've been listening to my dear friend, Patrick Hester, extol the virtues of having a blog.  Supposedly, this is going to set my writing career on fire and gain me legions of fans. I thought Twitter would do the same thing, and so far I'm stuck in the double digits with followers. Of course, I suppose it would help if I updated my Twitter account more often. Trouble is, I'm so busy having fun being a writer, I forget to do these things. Keep that in mind when you don't see my blog updated very often. That being said, I thought I'd give this blogging thing a try and see if anyone is interested.

Those of you who are reading this are probably my dear friends and family, the same ones who buy my books as conicidence would have it. For those of you who don't know me, I'm a fledgling writer trying like heck to break into the young adult field. I've been toiling away for years at this writing thing with only modest success. Depending on the day, or maybe even the time of day, I either love or hate being a writer. I have to warn you most of my posts will be about being a writer and the ups and mostly downs of this job.

So, welcome to my blog and happy reading new friends!