Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I survived a case of mis-match with a publisher yesterday. I’d carefully read the submission guidelines. My gut told me not to submit, because the guidelines were long, convoluted, and contradicted themselves several times, plus I had to reformat out of Standard Manuscript Format, which I think is ridiculous. Hey, they can ask for whatever they want, but there’s a reason Standard Manuscript Format was created. I’d spoken to someone who had good things about this publisher (although what I’ve read of theirs I didn’t particularly like), so I figured a query package along their submission guidelines might be worth the hour-plus time to reformat.

As far as I could tell, I followed everything in the guidelines. I sent it off – and yesterday I get a return email with the submission guidelines in it. Huh?

So I’ve crossed them off the list. It’s their company, they can ask for anything they want, and I can choose not to be associated with them. They don’t pay enough to make the hoop jumping worthwhile. And it’s better to find out we’re not a good match early in the process rather than later.

The longer I do this, the more I discover that the less they pay you, the more they expect YOU to jump through hoops and do work that, technically, is on their side of the table.

I’d already crossed a half a dozen potential publishers off the submission list for this particular project for the simple fact that they each wanted query package material submitted in wildly different formats, completely removed from Standard Manuscript Format, and, frankly, they don’t offer enough money to make it worth my time. I’ve got enough credits under my belt and publish frequently enough to stick to the publishers who use SMF and pay decently.

Next.

(Note: This is much more diplomatic than what I originally wrote about this situation).

I completely understand that publishers want and need writers to follow guidelines. That’s reasonable. What IS unreasonable is when the publishers deviate so far from Standard Manuscript Format and expect writers – whose time is AS VALUABLE as the publisher’s, at least for those of us who do this for a living – to keep reformatting the work. There’s a difference between an unpublished writer who can’t be bothered to learn the craft and a publisher who demands a wacky format. I’m going to steer clear of the latter from now on, unless there’s a contract with a lot of money upfront signed BEFORE I’m expected to do the reformatting. We’ll all be happier. Nor do I turn over the PR contacts that I’ve laboriously built over the years to a publisher in a SUBMISSION PACKAGE. Why should they be able to cull my hard-won contacts? I’ll do whatever I can to help promote the book – once it’s under contract. But I’m not turning over everything pertaining to relationships I’ve cultivated for years with a query.

Chase gets yet another Middle Finger Award. There was a discrepancy on my mother’s bank statement. Two hours and six different people later on the phone, no one wanted to deal with it. They’d say they were “looking into it” and put us on hold, which meant back into the automated system, where we had to start from square one all over again. After two hours of this bullshit, we walked into the local bank branch, where our “personal banker” had the exact same problem. We finally resolved it, after another hour – Chase changed the way they handled something but never bothered to either let us know or ask for authorization. They just did it because they’re Chase and they do any fucking thing they want if it means charging you to, oh, I don’t know, BREATHE.

We’d planned to switch to WaMu, but since they tanked . . .

So I lost a lot of writing time.

On the up side, I had a blast over at Wild On Books, and thanks so much to Jennifer Ray for inviting me to participate.

The Nano site is already driving me nuts and it’s not even November yet. Argh. I have a feeling I’ll be sending quite a few of the early days’ encouragement emails via email, rather than Nanomail. All but one N3 complied with my request for email, and if I don’t get anything from that person and can’t access the site for the first few days – well, that person misses out.

A few people have asked me why I don’t write about the election, since I have very strong opinions on it. It’s because, in order to write in a public forum such as this, I believe strongly that rather than just venting, it is my responsibility to track down sources and cross check information MYSELF. Not just repeat what “I’ve heard” from either side. And, frankly, I’d rather spend the time writing than chase sources eight to ten hours a day, unless I’m being paid so to do. That is why I’ve been quiet. My life will take enormously different trajectories depending upon who gets into office. I’m setting my plans for either possibility, and next week, I’ll know what needs to be done next. Unlike many people, who don’t believe the election directly affects them, the last few elections have had an enormous impact on my daily life, and this will have a bigger impact than any previous election. I’m not enjoying the limbo, but until I know the outcome, I can’t make solid plans for anything beyond the end of this year.

As someone who likes to plan a couple of years in advance, and then adjust the plan as needed, it’s kind of getting to me! 😉

Back to the page. Cornelia True and Roman Gray have a murderer to catch. Cornelia’s sister Arabella isn’t much help, because she’s reading Hortense Cavier’s latest best seller. I bet you can’t wait for “The Ramsey Chase” to be finished so you can read it, huh? 😉

Devon

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Published in: on October 30, 2008 at 7:31 am  Comments (8)  
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8 Comments

  1. Wise decision on the publisher. I’ve stopped working for people with wildly unordinary demands – such as “write it without a contract and we’ll round the word count down and pay you for what we use” demands. Not worth the time for what is obviously a future rear-ending.

    I’m also in a fluff these days about invoice formats. I’m sick to DEATH of clients not paying me (and not telling me they’re not paying me) because the invoice format isn’t their standard. It’s nothing more than an accounting power trip and it’s a waste of time and energy on both sides of the equation.

  2. Good for you on that publisher. You don’t need that crap. It’s a waste of your time.

    I was wondering why you were so “quiet” about election stuff, you usually have lots to say. 😉 We’re biting our nails over it too, because we will be affected as well. I’m sort of ready for it to be all over. Especially since we’ve been following it obsessively every night for the last three months. All I can do is cast my vote, and see what happens.

    And yes! The characters are calling! You go!

  3. I’m curious how deviant the manuscript submission guidelines were! Sounds like a royal pain if they’re that particular.

  4. No question about it. This election will impact heavily. People are coming out of the woodwork for this one! Obama is leading currently, with 59% of the pre-votes / absentee votes. We’ll see!

  5. I have a feeling this election will impact everyone. Sorry to hear about the Bank situation.
    Hope today is more productive for you.

  6. Good luck with NANO! I’m certain you’ll get through early, just like you did last year.

  7. Sadly, WaMu was just bought up by, wait for it, JP MORGAN-CHASE! So you’d be right back in square one.

  8. I just want this election to be over with. It’s gone on long enough and I’m plain tired of it.


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