Last year is finally a thing of the past...let's just hope things go smoother for all this year.
I don’t know what it is about writers that make them think that the rules—whatever they are—don’t apply to them.
Recently, a seemingly nice and decent writer, wrote me and asked me what we actually meant by “reprints.” Maybe he thought we were vague about it. We weren’t. But he wondered if his reprints would be acceptable because he had published them in an online zine. He maintained that since they weren’t “printed” in a magazine, and since it had been way back in “2005” (you know, that yesteryear of our distant memory) then it should be acceptable.
Of course he never mentioned anything about the hordes of other writers who had published in online zines. Should we accept all of those too? Maybe he thought that he was the only writer to publish a story online in all of 2005. Maybe he was just the only person to publish a “hooker” story online.
I also get several emails a week saying something like this: “I’m sending you this story, it’s not about a hooker per se, but…”
But what? But the writer thought I didn’t have anything better to do than to read his 5000 word story that won’t even fit our anthology? But…if I just read it, I’ll fall so hopelessly in love with it that I won’t even care that it DOESN’T EVEN FIT OUR ANTHOLOGY.
I spend a lot of time reading various blogs and online writers’ sites. Many newbies come to these sites asking questions about their manuscripts or their query letters. It never fails that when the newbies don’t get the answers they want—meaning praise—they tell the writers, they have just asked for help, how wrong they are. They scream and yell about how unfair the writing business is, and how editors and agents don’t really want “good” writing. Because, you see, if they wanted good writing then they would publish the newbie’s stuff. They don’t seem to understand, or they choose not to see, that learning how to write takes a long time. And getting published can take even longer.
I’ve heard every excuse.
If they have too many misspelling in their manuscript then they say, “well, I read mistakes in published books all the time.”
If they have grammar problems, then it’s, “well, the editor should fix that. I’m a writer, I can’t be expected to know all the rules.”
If they’ve had a rejection from an agent or publisher: “but she didn’t read past page 2 or 3. She didn’t get to the really good part.”
And then sit down, take off your shoes…this writing thing may take a while.