How Not to Communicate with Publishers



How Not to Communicate with Publishers

In my time I’ve done a lot of writing courses and gone to a lot of writing seminars/festivals/workshops. I’m not just saying that to brag, I’m going somewhere with this. Because of this extensive training I have become a bit of an expert on what publishers don’t want. Me, would be a simple yet hilarious answer, and however crushingly truthful it might be, it would not help any of you good folk. So below I have collected all the insights I have had revealed unto me by publishing house reps and published authors alike.

How Not to Approach a Publishing House Representative

  1. NO GLITTER! Don’t put it in envelopes, don’t glitter bomb them in passing, don’t offer them glitter lip gloss. These people fucking hate glitter. No surprise really, glitter is the herpes of the craft world. I have three kids and I can tell you, that once you get that stuff on you then you may very well never get rid of it. I have probably accidentally glitter bombed countless people because I can never guarantee that my hands are glitter free. If you want to get published do not come into contact with young children or parents of young children, they are riddled with glitter.
  2. In addition to the whole no glitter thing, I would suggest that strip-o-grams, fat-o-grams, kiss-o-grams, or indeed any kind of o-grams are well out. I’ve never heard publishers despair at length over them as they do over craft herpes, but I suspect they wouldn’t like them much either.
  3. Do not write – “Well, well, well, as if this isn’t your lucky day. I’m about to give you Dan Brown mixed with J. K. Rowling with a side of Stephen King and a spicy E. L. James sauce drizzled over the top. If you pass on this little puppy I’ve got in my hot little hands you will literally kill yourself. That’s a scary thought, but you will. That’s how good this script is.”
  4. Do not say – “Yo, bitch, stop being such a lefty, leso, femmo, right winged, Nazi, bitch and read my script. You might not like it because you’re such an uptight frigid slut, but other people will love it. Then we can roll about in a hot tub full of money together. Call me, you’ll thank me for it later.”

How Not to Deal with Rejection

  1. Do not say – “Fuck you, fuck your sales team, fuck the marketing department, and fuck the work experience kid. Seriously, fuck you all. I hope you get sent a chain status update on Facebook that you get cancer if you don’t pass on.”
  2. Do not email – “You are an idiot. I am going to be the biggest thing ever and you have missed out. I’m going to make J .K. Rowling look like a destitute hooker begging for favours in Gateshead, and you’re going to miss out. Suck on it losers.”
  3. Do not voice message – “I never liked you anyway, so get lost. You smell like a butt.”
  4. Do not write – “Jesus Christ, I can’t believe I got rejected by even you. You’re like the arse end of publishing. I only submitted to you because I’ve been rejected more times than Danny DeVito at a sex party. If I can’t get anywhere with you I may as well load a shotgun with deep fried chicken and shoot it directly into my mouth.”

Suggestions on How to Deal with Publishers

  1. Oh, I don’t know, maybe treat them like they’re hard working individuals, with a busy job, and respect their privacy. Don’t try to corner them in the bathroom/elevator/shower.
  2. Submit your manuscript using the submission guidelines provided on the Publishing Companies Website. If they ask for a 200-300 word synopsis, give them one that is 200-300 words. If they ask for the first three chapters, give them the first three chapters… If they ask for glitter give it to them, if they haven’t just leave it at home.
  3. Make sure you edit your work before sending it. As much as everybody loves a good mystery and discovering the exact meaning of your manuscript because not one word is spelt correctly, and the tense is constantly shifting, does seem fun, publishers are busy people so maybe just keep it simple.
  4. Deal with rejection with some dignity. By that I mean, cry, eat a lot of cake, bitch about it to your friends, and then send a polite “thank you for your rejection” letter.

I hope that helps. Cost me many, many, lots of dollars to learn this. Don’t worry, I’m not going to charge you. Me, eradicating craft herpes from the publishing world will be thanks enough.

8 responses »

  1. I love your brain! Anyone that can refer to glitter as the craft worlds herpes is an effing genius in my eyes.

    Also I’m a little in love with number 4 in how not to deal with rejection.

    Once again thank you for the life lessons and the snaughling.

    • Oh, I must confess that craft herpes isn’t an original creation. It’s an American comedian. I cannot remember his name. Google “glitter is the herpes of the craft world” and it should reveal the genesis. However, number 4, oh that was me, that all came from my lady brain. πŸ™‚

  2. Yep! Can relate to all of this.
    What can I add? My early rejection letters were shockers, the kind of ‘kick the cat, guzzle a bottle of wine’ type stuff. I tried to leave the three kids out of it, but occasionally I kicked them, too. But, man, they still didn’t leave me alone, wanting to be fed and all.
    Anyway, I digress.
    The rejection letters got kinder and more personal until…they weren’t rejections anymore.
    Keep going, Robin. And, yes, try not to piss publishers off.
    Regardless, keep sending manuscripts and smile (I am in no way suggesting you include a smiley face icon with email submission. (For the love of God, don’t! That’s just another thing that’ll piss publishers off. Trust me. I learnt the hard way!)

    • So I’m guessing the winky face is out too… Shit. Probably should not have written in my last submission. “You’ll love it. πŸ˜‰ Give it a read. Lol.” Although, it was possibly better than the time I wrote, “BTW FYI, I’m bigger than Jesus now.” (Please let it be known that I did not do either of those things – but kind of regret that I didn’t now.)

      Ah the three kids. A mandatory requirement for all mad mothers. I was going to force you to look at a pic of my three kids by inserting a pic into this comment, but I am too stupid to work out how… No, don’t turn anger inwards, turn it outwards. The site is too stupid to make it easy enough for me to do it. Serenity. There is a pic of the three of them in this entry Just scroll to the bottom, there they are.

  3. Omgggggg πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I have to say I couldn’t stop laughing with your post…thank you so much for all of that, I was wondering about this…you rock I love your blog!!!!! GIGI

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