Neil O'Donnell

Neil O'Donnell

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Buffalo, New York, United States
Nationally certified career coach with expertise in writing résumés and cover letters for professionals around the world. 15+ years of focus helping new graduates and seasoned professionals find good jobs.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thanks to Agents and Publishers

I read a disturbing post recently where a writer seeking a publisher and agents ranted about the prossess (and yes, the writer named specific pubs and agents that had rejected the writer's queries/manuscript). That's a dangerous AND unprofessional things to do. Why is it dangerous? Because, agents and publishers discuss troublesome/arrogant/self-righteous/annoying writers. Word gets around. The writer (as well as the other writers that have foolishly done similar things) is only making things more difficult for themselves. Yes, my short stories and novel were all rejected many times before I found a publisher (I still haven't found an agent willing to represent me). Is it frustrating? Yes. Have I purchased a novel published by a major house that was filled with grammatical errors, historically inaccurate, lacking any true cohesion, or all of the above? YES! Did I write back scolding the publishers and/or agents? NO!

The reason I didn't send such venemous attack letters is two-fold. First, I did my research on the publishing industry and knew that most things written were never published. The odds are stacked against us writers. In some cases, rejection may be due to the fact we submitted a bad manuscript (my apologies to TOR - they were the 1st publisher I sent my novel to and it truly was not ready for publication at the time). In other cases, what we've written may simply not peak the interest of the agent or publisher. It's that simple. I've read some classics teachers shoved done our throats in high school, which I thought (and still believe) are far from worthy of finding space on my book shelf. We all have likes and dislikes when we choose a book. Publishers and agents have the same right! Case in point, GONE WITH THE WIND was rejected well over twenty times before it was accepted by a publisher.

The 2nd reason I don't write attack letters? Thank my Mom for that. She always said we should thank people for taking the time to help or listen to us. Consequently, I usually sent thank you notes to the publishers and agents that read my material. Maybe they didn't like what I wrote. Maybe they were in the process of publishing a similar story? Maybe... Honestly, it didn't matter. The publsihers and agents took the time to consider my manuscripts. I was never under the impression that the pubs/agents were obligated to love my story. Yet, I was grateful that the publishers and agents took time to read any part of my query package, something I think all writers should appreciate. Take care.

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