RRR: Say what you mean, mean what you say


In case you haven't heard, this whole writing-for-money thing hasn't exactly turned a profit for me yet. But I've been involved in the process long enough now to get a sense of what sort of people are worth working with and what sort aren't.

Most of my efforts in resume-building have been spent with smaller magazines. And although I do get many personalized rejections, I don't have anything against form letters. Sending a form letter is not indicative of whether or not you're worth working with.

The main thing that fledgling writers should know is whether or not a magazine or book publisher respects your time.

The obvious assumption is that a quick turnaround on your manuscript is the best indication that they respect your time and to a point that is true. But the real issue is whether they take as long as they say they'll take. If they say expect a reply in six days, did it take six days or less? If they say it'll take nine months, it had better not take 11.

Sources like Duotrope help determine this so you don't have to find out who sucks the hard way.

Given the supply of manuscripts available, it's not terribly surprising that editors and publishers often treat writers like chattel. There are even plenty of good manuscripts--at least going to the more reputable places. So treating writers decent is only necessary to satisfy the demands of humanity--not capitalism. Ergo, being a publisher is a lot like having a king--not only do the people suffer, but it destroys the soul of the king as well.

Getting back to my own experience, let me just say that the first step to being a professional is developing a thick skin. The first form letter, so impersonal, feels like cruelly wielded weapon. But this too shall pass.

What has not ceased to be upsetting is what I view as a lack of professionalism--

--not returning submissions in the timeframe promised.

--not returning submissions at all.

--accepting work and holding it for over a year before finally reading it and rejecting it and then add accusations of im

I don't see how I can write this nicely yet. Anyway. Down with Zarahemla! All you Mormon writers stay away! Unless you are Bigelow's friend or already wellknown in the Mormon arts community, you will be either ignored or screwed. Just so you know.

And the publisher a writer! Disgusting.

2/13/08 11:17 AM

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