This is my 800th post. I figured, in honor of the eight hundredth piece of crap that I've churned out to suck up slices of internet pie, I should do a rant.
If you are friends with me on the Book of Faces, then you will know that I recently got the disheartening news that I was once again turned down by a publisher. Ho hum. It's old hat at this point.
However, there was something particularly grating about this one.
I had decided to try my hand at one of these small, independent e-publishers. Since the market place is beginning to see a pretty wide array of e-readers as well as a moderate uptick in sales of electronically-published books, I figured this could be a good way to stay apace with technology and get myself into the hot little hands of teenagers everywhere!
*ahem* Sorry about that.
My wife had found this particular publisher for me. She knew someone who had published with them, so I thought I'd give them a go. Plus, you know, make the missus happy. *wiggles eyebrows*
*ahem* Sorry about that.
I prepared everything I needed as per the guidelines on their website. As they instructed, I submitted, waited patiently for word from them, and then got kicked in the
teeth grundle. The reasoning for them to turn me down? Here, I'll let them explain it, cutting and pasting directly from the rejection letter they sent me:
To be completely frank with you, I believe The Boar War is too commercial a manuscript for a small independent publisherI'm sorry? It's too commercial? What do you mean by that? Do you think that it's "too good" or "too mainstream" for your small publishing company? You're afraid that it would have "too much success?" Um. Okay.
At this point, I wasn't feeling so bad. And then I continued reading:
The story seems to be perfectly positioned as a middle-grade YA fantasy, in the same niche as the recent Guardians of Ga'Hoole.Recent? Just because Hollywood made a shitty movie based loosely on the story does not make it "recent". The last book in the series was published two fucking years ago and the series itself was started in 2003. Yeah, that's fucking recent. That's real fucking recent. I guess if it falls within the current epoch, that shit's recent.
Also, just because a story features animals as characters does not mean it is exactly like another story with animals as characters. That's like saying Hamlet and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo are the same fucking book because they both have Scandinavians in them. Or, better yet, claiming How to Train Your Dragon is the same story as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I mean, they have "dragon" right there in the titles, and they feature Swedes, more or less, and--the real kicker--they're both written on paper!
I do hyperbole so well...
After this, the real fucking slap in the face arrived. Please note that the following was written after the text of the email had changed fonts. That's real fucking professional, too, by the way. Let me be the first to point out that recently movable text was developed so that your documents did not look fucking shitty and like a third grader put them together. Maybe you should look into it, or even try the recent development of word processing programs that allow you to highlight a block of text and make it uniform with the click of a button.
Anyway, this is the line that really filled my veins with rage-ahol:
consider submitting your work to YA agents and perhaps to publishers like Peachtree and Scholastic.This tells me that the asshole who wrote my rejection letter did not read a fucking word of my submission. They read the cover letter and the synopsis (maybe), and that was it. I can tell this because here is what happens in the first fifty pages I sent them:
- The bloody and meticulous slaughter of an important character
- An attempted rape on the main character of my story
- Implied sexuality between two of the first characters we meet
- Violent murders of those same two characters
- The main character's pet killed in cold blood and for sport
- Liberal use of the word "bitch" to describe one of the dead characters and the main character as she escaped the threat
- A bloody fight between a herd of deer and a pack of wolves
- A somewhat graphic description of the wounds sustained by one of the deer characters
Now, you tell me that this is something that is going to be targeted straight for middle school readers. In a recent development, rape is somewhat of a taboo in children's literature.
Oh, and by the way, fuckers, the main characters of the story--as clearly outlined in the submission summary and the synopsis--are humans, not a bunch of fucking owls. Yes, the animals are characters, but they are not the characters. This story is more like the fucking recent political story Animal Farm than motherfucking Guardians of Gahoole. Dammit, I want to skull fuck you stupid cockwaffles.
The final nail in the fuck-you coffin, also in the "hey, we're a fucking joke of a company" vein, was how I was told that I've used "highly-repetitive language" and where my "prose could flow more smoothly." On their website, they implore potential authors to avoid "thesaurus abuse" and not to worry if things seem "choppy" or "rough". These things "can be fixed later."
So, while I was originally kind of sad, I think I'm just mad. Mad, and relieved that I won't be working with these hacks. Sure, this might seem like sour grapes, and perhaps a little of it is. However, when you tell someone that their story is too commercial and then suggest the wrong places for the story to go and slap it all in a form email that is poorly formatted and, by the way, repetitive, then you open yourself to some criticism of your own.
In that light, fuck you, electronic publisher. My too commercial manuscript and I will go find someone who actually gives a damn about potential new authors. And, more importantly, someone who has their shit together.