n. Noob, Newb, N00b, Noober, Newbie – one who is new to something, uneducated, and at times but not always, foolish and super annoying.
Note: This post might come across as rude to some people. This only represents my opinion. It is also a bit of a rant. You’ve been warned.
Editor and writer Skyla Dawn Cameron is writing a blog series about how aspiring (and published) authors can avoid being douche bags. We read posts like this, and other less colorful guidelines from published authors, agents and publishing houses, and think “Well, duh! Of course! That’s so obvious! People who do that ARE douche bags!” We get a good laugh.
But when we see how it affects getting even a foot in the door, it becomes less amusing. Agents are going from form letters to no response means no. Some, like Colleen Lindsay, have been forced to close submission due to the bad query letter influx (and badly behaved wannabe authors).
Tell me then. Why is it people who follow the same informative blogs I read, with all the hints and tidbits on what NOT to do, seem to think the rules don’t apply to them?
Take Authoress’ query contest. Jodi Meadows critiqued the 58 queries and first 250 words. First, it’s great that Authoress dedicates time to help noobs out. Jodi deserves the same kudos for taking her free time to look at even MORE slush. Hell, it's great for all of us that read Authoress' blog. We all get to read the feedback from Jodi.
When I saw this go up, my first thought was holy shit. Jodi (and the agent she works with, Jenny) are one of my top picks for agents to query to once my hunt begins. But guess what?
I READ THE DIRECTIONS AND RULES FOR THE CONTEST. And because my manuscript and query are not COMPLETELY DONE and ready for querying and/or already being sent out to agents, I DID NOT ENTER.
Come on people. WTF?
You all read the same blogs I do. Ready to query = PERFECT OR AS CLOSE TO PERFECT AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE for BOTH the QUERY LETTER AND THE MANUSCRIPT.
- Not “still tweaking/polishing.”
- Not your first or second or even third draft. (and if you have some magic pixie dust that makes this in the realm of possibility, pass that shit on for me to snort. I could use a good trip).
- And certainly not for your work that doesn’t fall under the fucking genres they represent (which you didn’t even have to dig up yourself, since Authoress spelled all this out on her blog).
- Additional stupidity: Or not if you felt the need to revise your query repeatedly in the comments section (since that was also in the instructions of WHAT NOT TO DO).
I think Jodi expected and deserved a bit better from the educated blog community. Authoress even spoke in your favor, assuring Jodi this would be above and beyond the normal slush reading. I’m speaking for my own opinion only. I am not quoting Jodi, nor do I have any communication with her on this topic. But I know for sure I expected better.
So shame on all of you – yes, you know who you are, I hope – for thinking the rules don’t apply to you or not taking the time to read them. Learn the lesson before you really query, or you might as well give up. Getting published might be a dream to you, but it's a business. And you have to be a professional independent businessperson when showcasing your work.
Oh, and just reading guidelines isn’t enough, in case you’re unsure about that one. FOLLOWING them is also required. Even when it’s YOUR manuscript, kids.
And by the way, congratulations to the winners (and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I'm always, always happy to see others succeed). And congratulations to those who entered and did not ignore the instructions. Obviously this post doesn't apply to you.
But I'm sure all of you that did win aren't frantically running in circles and panicking because you don't have something ready to send her...Right?