I was annoyed by an article today I read on my Facebook page on the five reasons why agents reject your manuscript. For one thing, it was just the usual market lecture of what not to do when writing query letters and why the agents are gods next to us little people–the writers.
And I couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit frustrated by the lack of communication that agents don’t give to their target audience.
For years, I’ve been begging the industry to change their approach to query letters and their submission guidelines, not to make things easier for us writers, but in effect, be able to communicate more effectively on a fundamental level.
Writing query letters is a pain in the ass. Because I have to sit there and think of the myriad of ways to piss off a prospective agent because I didn’t either follow the “rules” or I did something completely out of character that would end up as an ass-whipping by my significant other.
But the truth is, there is no real model of proper query letter writing. There are no said examples of different variations which would showcase to the inexperienced–albeit amateurish–writers out there who have no idea how to write an effective pitch letter that would grab an agent’s attention.
Just the usual market approved query letters that don’t tell me diddly-squat–while reading on (in disgust) about how great this letter is and how it grabbed the said agent’s attention and how it went on to score a ten-figure advance and the Movie of the Week deal.
And don’t get me started on the books that proclaim to teach you how to write a killer query letter either–because by and large the majority of the self-help “guides” were written by people who wouldn’t know how to write anything effectively if one came up and bit them in the ass.
Just more of the recycled bullshit that’s heavy in market speak-easy jargon, but horrifically light in details.
How about a query letter that is written to just tell it how it is? Or one that wasn’t written by a New York Times Best Selling author who knows next to nothing and just wants to sell the next best thing? Celebrity style?
Because I’ve been through more than a dozen variations of published guides on query letters and they don’t tell me what I really need to know: What are the fucking basics to writing a query letter?
Can anyone tell me? Where are the goddamned charts and pages of diagrams of the internal mechanics of a query letter? Why are these butt-fuckers so hung up on perfection that they can’t see the damage they’re causing by remaining blissfully ignorant of the whole process?
If someone were to come along and explain things a little bit better than to simply rehash what every other asshole agent and writer has gone and done in years past, it would make my life a whole lot easier.
The other thing which annoys me is how agents aren’t privy to giving out the required information on their submission guidelines, but instead just post the usual market-driven “billboards” on their sites and expect people like me to understand just what the fuck they are after.
“Read the guidelines!” They keep screaming at us noobs. And my response is: “Do I look like I speak Klingon here?”
Because every time someone writes that they take fiction, my eyes just glaze the fuck over. I have some basic idea on what that means, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that I will have a full and complete understanding of what this agent wants.
I look at these submission guidelines and I just want to punch an agent directly in the face for being an inconsiderate prick.
Sorry to say, but your “guidelines” just suck donkey balls. They aren’t succinct nor are they “up to date”. In the past fifteen years that I’ve tried to submit to these jokers, the one thing that sticks in my mind is how these agents don’t know a rat from a hole in the ground, okay?
They just don’t.
These agents–and especially the publishers–don’t know what the fuck they want anymore. But they certainly won’t tell you want they want. Their guidelines are obsolete and outdated–following a script that should’ve been buried next to the guy who invented Duck Dynasty and Honey Boo Boo.
Because I’ll tell you something: Fiction, science-fiction, fantasy, historical romance can pretty much mean anything. There is no set definition anymore.
So when an agent says, “I take fiction”, what the holy fuck does he mean??? What kind of fiction will he take? What kind of fiction is he interested in? Which goddamned book spurred his interest in the first place in taking this fiction???
Where’s the fucking list?!?
Give us a list!!! Five books of what you consider fiction or your favorite fictional picks that would tell us newbies what we need to know and what we are up against! So that we don’t make the colossal mistake of submitting to you when we shouldn’t.
Agents don’t do this. They don’t do this to make our lives a little more easier. These asshole mother fuckers just want us to jump through a series of hoops and make an educated guess on what they will take based on their submission guidelines.
Which is why I stopped submitting years ago. I don’t need these headaches and migraines of trying to put myself in the place of an overpaid agent who doesn’t know his or her ass from a rat hole and…guess. (“Oh! He likes this book and…that book…and-and-and…!!!”)
This is why I hate the industry. Their lack of communication with the writers whom they say they want to represent, but have no idea on how to go about doing that.
Because I’ll tell you right now, I don’t know where my books would fit in the grand scheme of things. Sure, they’re fiction, but what type of fiction? And is it what the agent’s want?
See, these kinds of questions nobody in the industry has any answers to. And none of these retards from the fifth dimension will take a precious second to better explain themselves and to help level the playing field a little bit more by smoothing things out query letter wise or submission wise.
They’re too fucking busy with themselves to notice that some of us writers don’t speak industry here. We just don’t.
I’m used to simple directions. Things I can understand. But an agent’s submission guidelines and query letters are just two things I get hung up on.
And no amount of reading clears that up. Because all I have is more questions and more confusion.
Thank you. Fuck you. Have a nice day.