Saturday, June 21, 2008

Rules Aren't Made to be Broken

I was over at bookends once again and there was an entry there about rules in the publishing world, about how some authors want rule upon rule upon rule; they want someone to tell them the specific formula for success so that their book will be published. While other authors flaunt the rules, claiming there are too many rules, too many variations of those rules, and believe that without all those stifling rules, their work would almost certainly find publication.
Its very interesting, when you think about it. Personally I follow the rules, or my interpretation of them, because the rules are there to make things easier on the agents who are inundated day after day by hopefully authors who each believe their work is good enough to be published. Some of these authors are full on fanatical and don't take rejection well. For all of us writer's griping about agents and how they treat us so insensitively, I have to say that I'm not with the crowd on this one. I wouldn't trade places with an agent for anything. Sure, their job is rewarding, but it's also extremely hard. To me, whipping up a manuscript is no trouble and something I love doing, but I can't contemplate having to judge people's work day after day, especially when many of theses so-called professional authors don't bother following the guidelines, or think they're above the guidelines, sending work you don't represent, sending work that's a long, long way from publishing standard, and then getting pissed off and slagging you all over the Internet when you tell them no.
I have a lot of respect for agents. And as with everything in life, I've had some good experiences and some not-so-good experiences, but I don't let that influence the whole. This is the career I decided I wanted in on, I don't expect things to come easy, I don't expect any special treatment, I don't expect that everyone will love my work the way I do. I do expect to be given the same chance as everyone else and that hard work, discipline and dedication will eventually get me over the line where others have long given up.
I find it strange the way a lot of people approach this business. Yes, I can understand how they might take things personally, since writing often involves making yourself vulnerable, putting yourself out there. But if these people are serious about making a career, I don't understand how they can't see that taking everything so personally, sending rude letters to agents who've rejected them, not taking on board any criticisms or guidance from those who know is going to get them exactly no where.
I could go on about this, I've met a lot of the writers I've just described above, but I think I've said enough.
All that really matters is that I continue on my own journey in the right way.

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