April 29, 2008

Give Professional even if You Don’t get It.

     How do you deal with professionals when they behave less than professionally? This is a question with which I’m struggling at the moment. We writers need editors, agents, and publishers. (They need us too, they just don’t act like it.) We don’t want to derail any potential gravy-trains, but we also don’t want to be squished between the tracks.

     I’m experiencing one of those problems, which, when I was an unpublished writer, I couldn’t wait to have. I’m being ignored by one publisher and by another editor regarding two separate projects. This is all the more confusing because my initial contact with both was positive.

     As a writer I’ve received numerous rejections, so I can’t imagine these folks are afraid to give me bad news. So, why aren’t these professionals responding to my cordial follow ups? It’s not like I haven’t been patient; it’s been many months for each since we’ve had contact. I’d granted each of them exclusive consideration of the project before I went elsewhere, making the lack of response even more frustrating.

     As an aspiring author (read: half-paranoid), many scenarios cross my mind: I suck so badly they can’t bear to talk to me for fear some of my suckiness will rub onto them. My proposal or manuscript “accidentally” fell into a shredder. Maybe they simply forgot. Or, perhaps they’re so busy they legitimately haven’t had time to look at it yet.

     Regarding the last point, aren’t we as writers busy too? Unlike most editors, agents, and publishers, a significant number of writers also have another fulltime profession or vocation. Writing is done all that “free” time we have. As a writer, I understand if they haven’t had time, I’m just asking for the same professional courtesy I afford others.

     We writers ask ourselves, if I push too hard, will I be considered one of those “problem” writers who, regardless of talent, agents, editors, and publishers don’t want to add to deal with?

     I’m going to keep on pushing, but only a little; perhaps a bit of a nudge.   


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