Today I'm rambling about proper etiquette when it comes to talking to writing professionals. Recently I was contacted by some aspiring writers. I love talking and helping others because this can be such a hard business to get into. However, the disappointment when conversing with them soon became frustrating and the need to write this blog a necessity.
As many of you know, I'm dyslexic. I've worked years upon years to make my writing the best it can be. To train my mind to see words and number for what they actually are. And, like many writers, have given my work to others to edit and critique. (One major and obvious error can kill a potential contract along with sloppiness. These will guarantee a slush pile query or manuscript.)
I writing to you today for you to look at over my work. i believe it to be the next big thing and would love. you to look it over for,. me.
REALLY? Why would I, or a potential publisher/agent even consider looking at anymore? This person didn't even take the time to reread their email to me and fix the gross mistakes. What does this say about how hard the aspiring writer will work to make their story the best it can possibly be? The fact is, publishers, agents, editors demand the piece be what the writer believes to be 'print ready'. They are there to polish the work till it shines, not fix obvious errors that will eat up time and money.
With that said, I've made some guidelines that every aspiring writer should remember:
1. Leave your ego at the door. There is no room for it. Every author loves their work and thinks it's the best.
2. If you are given advice from a seasoned person in the published field, don't dismiss it. It's insulting.
3. It takes sweat, sometimes tears, to be introduced into the published world. Your heart will be broken numerous times.
4. Check everything letter, email, text-- whatever-- for gross spelling and grammar errors.
5. Read and reread your work. Have others look it over for plot holes. It's not the editors job to fix all the mechanical and story missteps. Our time is valuable and if there's too much to fix, we will send it back with a little note saying, 'Thank you for submitting to ____ but at this time your story isn't anywhere close to being ready for the publishing world.'
6. Tell the ending! A potential editor/pub/agent will need to know this to decide how or if they are going to help/represent you. If the obligatory scene and climax are week and contrived, there's a lot of work needed to be done.
7. As much as you'd like to, as much as we'd all would like to, we are friends second. It helps with
emotional attachment to your work. Constructive criticism will come in soft careful words, or bold and harsh. Thicken your skin.
It's very rare I rant on like this. However, in our world of text and email, manners have waned along with proper etiquette. This can be a downfall to any aspiring writer and an author taking suggestions too personally.
Hope this helps.
Have a Sparking Valentines Day!