Friday, February 20, 2009

The Picky Submitter

A while ago, I bought Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents 2009 to help me find appropriate places to send my manuscripts.  While I am still not certain of who this Jeff Herman is exactly, I have found the book mildly helpful.  It's kind of the stalker version of the Writer's Market guides.  It actually includes activities that the agents and editors enjoy in their free time, they're favorite books, movies, etc.  

While this is supposed to give anyone willing to pay $20 an edge in the publishing world, it has great potential to backfire in multiple explodingly, explosive ways.

First off, it could lead a writer to send the following cover letter:

Dear Mr. Editor,

I hear you like watching The Office on Thursday nights.  I too like relaxing at home, in bed, watching The Office and thinking of you and my submission....

That wouldn't be creepy at all.  

The book also backfires in the fact that I glance at these agents and editors personal interests and discover that I have nothing in common with some of them.  Glancing at a certain editor's favorite books, I see that they actually managed to read all of Anna Karenina and liked it.  Who is this person, I wonder.  How can they manage such an arduous task and come out happy about it?  How would they treat people whose work they are editing?  Would he or she lead me to the point where I want to throw myself under a train?  I don't want to throw myself under a train.  I don't like reading books in which characters throw themselves under trains.  Surely this is not the agent for me.  So instead of submitting to what are ten perfectly fine agents, I instead find myself only sending work off to two people, because they actually like The Office and don't enjoy books in which people throw themselves off of trains.

Now having said all of this, Herman's book has the most personality out of any of the writing guides I've paged through.  And these beastly books need personality.  

I'd also like to note that the editors and agents answer a questionnaire.  To the best of my knowledge, there is no stalking going on with anyone, not even me.  Honest.

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