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      CommentAuthormuse hick
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2008
    I know that some of the problem is researching your market, but how the hell do you work out whether a publisher has balls or not?

    I get this whole -- your writing is great but we're a bit wary about publishing it. I mean thankfully the responses don't seem to be just form letters -- I've had some of those.

    It's odd though -- isn't stuff that pushes the boundaries really popular? Palahniuk, Eugenides, Ellis? They show no timidity. Do you have to be established to be daring? Seems like catch 22 territory.
    • CommentAuthorsacredchao
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2008
    I think you have to find a publisher who already has "edge cred," and go from there. Get your name out a little, and publishers will be more willing to go out on a limb for you.
  1.  (1026.3)
    Things that matter more than anything else to whoever-is-in-charge-of-the-submissions-deluge:

    Have they done at least an inkling of research into our publication? (Dead giveaways: Is it addressed to the right person, have they submitted according to our guidelines which we cleverly hide under a link labeled 'Submissions Guidelines?' Is it typed or written in jelly?)

    Do they have enough grasp of grammar, punctuation, and spelling to get through the cover letter without misspelling the word 'paragraph' (Remember, '"Its" is possessive, "It's" is a contraction of "It is.")

    Is this person professionally minded? Can I count on them to actually deliver their completed work on time? (A competent cover letter conveys this impression, and that goes no matter the publication. Even if you're submitting an article to Bizarre magazine about transvestite dwarf dominatrices, be courteous and professional and remember to thank them for their time, because if they actually get that far in your cover letter, you're ahead of 97% of the slush pile.)

    The other side of the coin on your half is this: Writing is hard, getting published is a constant jog up the side of a skyscraper with no health insurance if you fall and break every bone in your body. If you get rejected, keep submitting. If you get feedback on WHY you got rejected take it to heart and try to apply it. Most important, remain on good terms with whoever you were dealing with. Even if you get rejected, take a moment to thank them for their time if you got anything more personal than a standard rejection form. Don't burn bridges when you're starting out, you can't afford them.

    One last thing I'll say, and I've got no clue where muse hick is as far as their writing is concerned, but this applies to everyone trying to get published as a writer: Consider that you may need improvement. DON'T assume that you suck, but consider that you may need to work on your stuff more. A good writing workshop can do wonders for weeding out writing habits in need of a polish, and many writing programs at universities and writing centers have classes on the business of writing that are cornucopias of wisdom.

    Again, muse hick, I'm not saying you suck. There are a thousand and one different reasons why a submission gets rejected and 967 of them are things well beyond your control as the writer. But it never hurts to take a second and check for areas that need improvement. The more you write, the more you become aware of what your writing as you put it down, and you gradually start to spot your mistakes before your type them in.

    Best of luck and keep at it.