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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

ranty ranty rant

You know that old wheeze about how you can tell the true nature of a person by how they treat The Help?

So okay what about this one:
You can tell how humane editors and agents are by how they treat the uninteresting people who submit to them.**

No one should expect personalized rejections. These people are busy and don't have a lot of time to send along reasons why they don't want our stuff. I'm happy when they do, don't get me wrong. But these days? I'm grateful for a simple goddamn rejection.

There are a whole bunch who Don't Even Bother. They can't bring themselves to do these simple steps:
1, hit return.
2. type "sorry not for me"
3, hit send.
Yes, yes, YES, I know they don't ask for the damned queries. (although it could be argued that the words "will read unsolicited queries" is sort of asking for 'em.) The professionals aren't responsible for the thousands of people they aren't going to work with who contact them.

But that's the point, isn't it.

It's not how you treat the people you depend upon for your success, or the people you find interesting. It's how you treat the rest of us. Tchah, no, silly person--I don't mean they're supposed to be encouraging hope or boosting egos. That's beyond the call of polite duty. I'm talking about the simple courtesy of acknowledging our existence.

There is no reason they should take the time to answer--even if those pathetic types are sort of hanging around waiting for some response--beyond the fact that it's a good person thing to do. Just like there's no reason to take the time to be polite to anyone.

I've been doing this submitting and getting rejection thing for years and years and I've gotten that silent treatment for years and years and years, even from editors who begged me to send them material.****

I've even sat in a couple of offices and watched harried editors delete all the queries. So I know it's a pain in the ass for them. I know it's some time out of their already overbusy days.
But.
All of the sudden . . .
It's really bugging the shit out of me. I haven't even gotten a rejection lately so I have no idea why this rant rose up inside me...
Maybe it's because I haven't gotten one and I'm about due? Now that's pathetic.


Anyway, here I am, undermining what's left of my career by whining about the people I hope to work with.

Not to mention there's the whole professional image thing.....naw, that's nothing new on the hopeless front.

__________
**although I have to say that one of my favorite people in the world doesn't answer any unsolicited note of any sort and I still love her. And I still adore Hilary--who usually ignores me--and I will lurve her for the rest of my life. But still. It's an argument and at the moment I'm buying it.

****Seriously, I met an editor at a conference who'd actually heard of me. She said," oh, you're Kate Rothwell? I read Somebody Wonderful. You're great! Submit to me, please!"
Oh boy! Of course I will!
I did and then ....
silence.
I did again and then....
more silence.

10 comments:

  1. I can sit here, hold your hand and sing Honey with you, but then I'd probably stumble over the part when the angels came and ruin the ambience of the comment.

    You know this is an endurance game. All the old playground rules still apply: you don't get picked for the team, you watch the game and come back the next day. When you're picked, forget mistakes, you've got to be better than everyone else on the field. Bloody noses and skinned knees are not an excuse to quit. And if you have the stubbornness (or stupidity) to stay in the game until the end of the day, you get to come back tomorrow and have the crap kicked out of you all over again.

    But: everyone else who can't stand on the sidelines, play their hearts out or take a few bruises goes home sniffling about what great players they would have been, if only the game had been fair and the other players nicer.

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  2. Hehah! of course you're right, Lynne.

    (I hated sports precisely for that reason.)

    The big question I ask myself now: what does that whining rant accomplish? Or any rants by any other whiny writers?

    Answer: Nothing. But I suppose temper tantrums aren't supposed to accomplish anything.

    Time to get back to work.

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  3. would you really sing Honey with me?

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  4. Sure I would. The question is, would your sanity survive the experience?

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  5. Kate, out of curiosity, just how many books/novellas do you and your alter-ego have out?

    Do not give up. Do not throw the baby out with the bath. Never say die. May the Force be with you.
    Keep up the good work. Once bitten, twice shy. All good things come to he who waits.
    Remember those virgins in the Bible...keep your lamp ready and stay awake.

    Remember who loves you.
    Irene

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  6. Lynn, you would pick the absolute worst metaphor possible. I was ALWAYS picked last, and my name was often accompanied by groans on the part of my other teammates. Didn't matter if it was kickball, touch football, soccer. If my school life were Greek tragedy, the chorus would be, "HOFFMAN, YOU SUCK!"

    I suspect Kate and I share the hope that one day, someone will declare us Wonderful, and all our struggles will come to an end.

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  7. The second paragraph of PBW's first post is the best thing I've read online in at least two years. I will be printing it and pinning it over my computer in about two minutes. (Unless that violates somebody's something, in which case let's say I'm not.)

    And since Summer forgot our anthology, my sympathies are all for Kate. Hmph.

    Sometimes it sucks. This particular month envying the successes of people I like has been my particular thorn. It's a lot easier when you can envy people you DON'T like.

    I'm also approaching 8 months on a partial, so I think we should both hit the Walmart Valentine's chocolate clearance aisle on Friday.

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  8. isn't that the WORST, Shannon? I hate that more than I hate rejection, sort of. Nearly.

    I love being happy for pals and when I go into that stage, I feel like I loose second hand joy too. Grr.

    And what Doug said.. only, see, I thought I'd made the grade, paid my dues, walked the line, lifted the bales. Bah. Back to the starting gate and bring out the rabbit again. This dawg's ready to run...There's a dance in the old dame yet.

    Consolation! I can look up something good in Archy and Mehitable [sp]

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  9. lose
    I hate loose lose
    choice choose
    their they're
    its it's eets

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  10. and I love you too, Irene. [Sniff whimper.]

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