Shut up, we’re busy

October 27, 2010

I don’t mean to be mean. I know how hard it is to get the tone right on websites. But – as someone who spends at least a third of her time pitching ideas – it is increasingly hard to ignore the fact that publishers’ websites are really quite rude to writers. We’re their bread and butter! And yet, MORE OFTEN THAN NOT they come across as astonishingly condescending.

Don’t take my word for it, though – check out this collection of quotes I picked up today, while browsing the web for a publisher.

“We don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts at *****. However, if you are looking for general advice on submitting a manuscript, your local library is a great place to start.”

“Owing to pressure of submissions, we do not acknowledge receipt or give editorial guidance or advice on the material we reject. A writers’ group/writing course may help with the latter.”

“In response to the vast number of unsolicited manuscripts we receive at *****, and in view of the fact that we simply do not have the time or the manpower to evaluate these properly [….] via a literary agent.”

– and hey look at this one –

“We only accept for consideration those submissions which come via a literary agent. This decision has been taken in response to the vast number of unsolicited submissions we receive, which we simply do not have the time or the manpower to evaluate properly.”

Hello again, old friend:

“We only accept for consideration those submissions which come via a literary agent. This decision has been taken in response to the vast number of unsolicited submissions we receive, which we simply do not have the time or the manpower to evaluate properly.”

Could be worse, though, this company have given up altogether:

“Every week our Editors are inundated with manuscripts, but the reality is that we can no longer accept unsolicited submissions. We will no longer look or enter into correspondence about unsolicited works of fiction, non-fiction, plays, screenplays or children’s books.”

You’ll no longer LOOK? That’s a pretty serious response, but I guess extreme times call for extreme measures, and we are at war.

“***** does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. If you would like advice and information about literary agencies and other publishers’ submissions requirements, please go to Writers and Artists Yearbook website.”

Thanks man.

I have to stop now only because I don’t want to waste any more of MY time (which is, in fact, worth something). Incidentally, many of these rebuffings are found by following a link called something like “how to submit!”, amplifying the disappointment.

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