Tuesday, October 20, 2015

An Author's Pet Peeves

     It seems that agents and publishers are always posting their pet peeves, but authors are not allowed this outlet. Sometimes, we need to gripe, too. No names shall be named here. These are just general complaints brought on by my recent spate of submissions.
     Oh, how I wish for a standardized submission form. Yes, I do the usual, doubled-spaced in Times New Roman,standard margins, and headers, but then there are some publishers who even specify margin size and insist you cram your entire life story in the header which really messes up the look of the page. Then, a few want single-spaced. Some want attachments, some want embedded chapters, some want fulls, some chapters. A few make the submission process incredibly complex such as asking for your marketing plan and all your platforms as well as your publishing history. I realize they want to weed out the insufficiently motivated, but some also say if you make even one tiny mistake in following their directions, you are not professional,.and they will not take even a glimpse at your work. They have the power to do this of course, and we are at their mercy. We are too many and must be culled, but I am so tired of constantly reformatting.
     Most submissions are done by computer these days--easy to receive, easier to reject and delete, easier for me, too, than running a brown envelope to the post office to be weighed and paying for postage. However since we are in the age of computers, you would think agents and publishers could at least set up an auto reply that says, "We have received your submission."  Some do, but others don't. Their site will say if you haven't heard from us in two or three months, we aren't interested.  But, how do you know they ever got the submission in the first place. What if you broke one of their rules? You will never know. Some say you can inquire after a certain period of time. Frankly, I've never done this as I know they don't want to be bothered, just as people you pitch to do not want your card or contact info which they will only throw out later. I did once submit the same manuscript to an agent twice as I wasn't sure it had been received. To this day, I do not know, but I won't submit there again. Do I really want an agent who can't take the time to at least send an auto reply that says the classically vague, "Not right for us" so you won't go out and kill yourself over all the months you've wasted waiting to hear from them. Yes, I long for the days of the SASE with the standard brushoff and sometimes a single sentence of encouragement.
      Okay, got that off my chest. I shouldn't be broody. A contract did come through for my women's fiction novel, A Will of her Own, about a young woman whose life takes some unexpected turns when she decides to get over her college crush and date men who might really be interested in her. It's already undergone a title change and a blurb rewrite. Edits will show up soon taking me away from working on a new romance, A Splashy  Affair.  Best guess is that it will be out next spring, but She's a Sinner surprised me with a release date months before I expected it.  In publishing, you just never know anything.