Thursday, December 27, 2007

Stop sending me robot poop

Once in a while, I submit things I write to publishers, hoping that they will read whatever I wrote and publish it. That's generally how it goes. Then I wait for at least two months to hear back from them, which comes in the form of some generic letter that reads like it was written by a robot. And not a friendly robot, a cruel, emotionless robot who spits the rejection letters directly out of its rear end into an envelope where the letter begins its journey to my mailbox.

Some publishers will let you submit via e-mail, but this does not speed up the process at all. A few months ago I submitted something to The New Yorker and 2 months later I recieved a reply. It was the most non-descript email I've ever recieved. The sender was not recognizable and my only clue that it was from The New Yorker was upon opening it and reading its one and only sentence. "Blah, blah, The New Yorker cannot use your material at this time." It was literally signed "The Editors." No name, just The Editors, as if I don't know that it was probably some intern named Gavin who has to read submitted manuscripts in between trips to the coffee shop to bring his boss a fat free, organic muffin and each time a little part of him dies inside.

It makes me wonder if publishers understand how hard it is to write something and send it in to them and wait on pins and needles for months. Don't they want to encourage writers to keep writing? If they are going to send out generic letters can't they at least contain more than one sentence and offer some words of wisdom all wrapped up with someone's actual name signed at the bottom?

I would like to send them a query letter that says:

I wrote a good story about you falling down the stairs and hitting your head. I look forward to hearing from you.

Signed,
The Writer With Anger Issues

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