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Inspirational Reads

The Big 8-0-0

November 3, 2010

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 publisher
I'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.


Del-V said...

Happy 800th post. At least you aren't too commercial for blogging.

Sully said...

Happy 800!!!! sooooo... insulting publishers next?

Scope said...

You made me look. I think I just crossed 500.

And I am going through something that seems similar with a vendor. "Oh, don't worry, all the users have to do is blah when the save the document, and it will work fine." Ooops, but not on document creation. Yeah, the first time the save it, their screwed. They have to go back and change the security A SECOND TIME, and then it will work.

Yeah, that's what a guy who bills $1,000 an hour wants to do.

Sorry, we were talking about you. Just put the letter in the folder marked, "People to mock when I get my first movie deal."

SkylersDad said...

Happy 800th, and I'll bet they barely read your cover letter either. I'll bet they can barely read.

Elliott said...

If they can't be bothered to read, you're better off without them.

Maybe you need to start including a graphic storyboard with your cover letter.

Chemgeek said...

Sure, you got rejected, but nobody on teh internets uses the word "cockwaffles" better. Nobody!!!!

Helen Ginger said...

As you said, now that you've vented, move on to another publisher or to possibly self-publishing. To get published you have to keep moving forward. You clearly have the drive to do that.

Congrats on the 800th post!

That Baldy Fella said...

Happy 800th, old stick. And as for publishers, fuck 'em. Fuck 'em in their fucking ears.

Eric said...

Too commercial??? There is no such thing if the company actually wants to make money and they aren't running it out of their mom's basement to try to impress chicks.

Hart Johnson said...

Is it evil that your rejection made me laugh? It's not the rejection per se, but your description of it, to be perfectly fair. Hope your rant doesn't mean your wife isn't getting any. That would just be sad. She meant well.

Elly Lou said...

I hate those letters. I like 'em even better when they say, "That type of book just doesn't sell even though I'm not even going to bother to give you a chance to tell me why yours might be different because *yawn* it's time for my massage.

800 is a shit ton of posts, yo. Word to you and your cockwaffles.

Wynn said...

Someone celebrated your 800th post by spammning too!

Congrats on the 800th post! and boo for the publishers. They should know their market and not suggest such book to young people.

carissajaded said...

Woah!! I just spent 3 hours clicking on all of those links up above and de-virusing my computer twice! But I came back because I love you and holy shiznit! happy 800th!

How OLD are you?

Teehee just kidddding!

Elliott said...


Elliott said...

Oh, and my favorite link is the 'Plavix Flatulence' one...

lisatastrophies said...

Happy 800th

And I personally think YA publishers are full of shit, rape and killing of pets is right on pair with the 8th grade reader level. Don't worry we know you can write and we will luv ya no matter what the pricks, I mean publishers say

Gwen said...

Congrats on the milestone!