(Originally Published on Madness Heart Press 1.2.21)
Oh. My. God. You already spent all that time carefully crafting your words into the perfect masterpiece. You spent hours hunched over a desk, or a coffee table, or some surface pouring out the darkness and pain inside yourself in order to grace the publishers and editors of the world with your intense and insanely skilled wordsmithery. Why should you, after doing so much, have to kowtow to some stuck up publisher’s meager whimpering for how to submit your work that will make you both rich? Fuck em’ instead send them this list, to explain why their guidelines are stupid and you are amazing!
- You already did the hard work. – You wrote the damn thing, you spent the time to make it really good. Sure it’s only been edited by Grammarly, but your cousin Barty said it was pretty good, so maybe the editor should just understand how hard it was to do all of that!
- You can’t be constrained by rules! – Really, you are a Creative! You are an artist who looks at the world in a completely unique way that no one else can understand, but that at the same time touches the soul of the everyman. You create such scorching sex scenes that people’s loins quiver! Your action scenes feel as though the reader is actually there with the wind whipping through their chest hair! If you were into rules, you would have done something boring like becoming an editor!
- There are sooo many guidelines. – Seriously, who do these publishers think they are? Can’t they just get together and make some sort of standard for how to format stories? You created your cover letter listing every story you’ve published from 3rd grade on, and other than tacking on your latest conquest you’ll be damned if you change it. speaking of which…
- Your cover letter is already longer than the manuscript! – Look at how long it is! Look how it details your family life and work history, things every publisher must care deeply about! It is imperative that the editor, who you didn’t bother to look up, even though there is a link to the team on the website, knows about the short story you sold to a magazine five years ago. That’s how they know you have clout!
- The submission guidelines don’t take into account your special circumstances – How will the editor know that this is your first book, and that you’ve really pushed yourself and you’re trying to change your life around if you don’t tell them? They have to understand that even if your book, or pitch, or collection can’t stand on its own, you deserve the chance.
Look, straight up, if you can’t follow the simplest directions, like on the page where you can submit your pitches for 2022, we won’t read em. If I open an email, and you’ve disregarded anything that I’ve asked for. You go into the trashcan. I’m not asking for your socials so we can be buddies. I’m asking so I know if you’re going to be an active participant in promoting your work.
I didn’t forget to ask for a bio or a CV of all your published work, I didn’t ask for that, because I don’t care. I don’t. If your pitch sounds good I’ll look up your books. Sometimes awards aren’t listed, so that’s great info to have. We, and by we, I mean all of us publishers, create our submission guidelines for a reason, and if you can’t be bothered to follow them, I can’t be bothered to read your submission.