Saturday, August 21, 2010

Why ....

do so many editors, slushpile readers and agents have blogs?

They seem to post endlessly about how everything they are sent is trash and how much they wish people would just stop sending them submissions.. so why even bother to be in the business?

They then proceed to lambaste people who don't take rejections well, but I can kind of understand the rejectee's point of view on that.. especially if the agent/editor/reader is as snarky in the rejection as they are on their blogs.. I won't even go into some of the truly bizarre rationals these individuals give for rejecting something. Course, I once had a teacher who didn't like how I shaped my T's and threw a temper tantrum in class over it.. Maybe her and literary agents are related some how.

I personally can't understand writing anything just for the heck of it.. you produce a product to sell it.. or at the least so other people will read it. Since if its good enough to go to all the trouble to actually write it.. then it would be logical that you would want others to read it.. so of course you are going to get angry when the gatekeeper tells you it can't be sold, and that you wasted your time and that you should just go back to working your night shift at 7/11..

So what is the purpose exactly? Is it some kind of valve with which to relieve stress? Is it to gloat and bring peoples misguided hopes to some sort of larger audience so that they can re-affirm you in your snark? With the way some of these people talk about themselves, I think its a small miracle we even have a publishing industry at all.. since everything apparently sucks and writers are all stupid.. but not as stupid as book stores, book scan.. or worst of all.. book buyers.

3 comments:

cyclopeatron said...

I'm really very curious to see what some of these slush piles look like. I want to know how much the (lack of) quality in current fantastic fiction is due to lousy authors or lousy editors. For instance, I could never imagine some of my favorite classic authors being published today as slush finds... How many Clark Ashton Smith story open with one of those hokey "grabber" lines like modern editors seem to love?

Lagomorph Rex said...

Exactly, I get the sneaking suspicion that part of the problem in publishing today is the decline of the fiction magazine/Anthology.. no outlet for new writers to be " Discovered " in..

If you look at it that they publish, and this is a number that crops up a lot, roughly 1000 SF/F books a year. But some of these slushpile readers will go through 35-50 Submissions daily, and discard either all of them or 99% of them.. and then once they have requested the manuscript of the work then reject the other 1%... a few of them even relate how long it takes them daily.. " I spent an hour today and got through 45 queries "... what do you do for the rest of your day then? Obviously blog about how awesome you are for having made sure all those people who don't know how to craft a query letter don't get published.. but I mean what else? a 6 martini lunch to drown the pain of having to read crap all day?

Lagomorph Rex said...

I'd meant to add, that a lot of the literary agencies do not even accept unsolicited manuscripts, they only accept Query letters. And most of the big publishers, while they all have Submissions guidelines on their websites.. from what I gather accept neither Query letters or Unsolicited manuscripts, but only Agented manuscripts.

So that sort of thing leads me to wonder if the slushpile isn't rather fictitious.. I mean It obviously exists, but I think its more of the way at work when my boss talks about 'The Round File'...