Do writers have slush piles?
Yes, everyone I know who writes has their own slush pile. The stack of almost worth it projects we mean to get back to that sits in the corner of our minds. We file it away as not right for the moment. Maybe it isn’t something we want to deal with. Sometimes it is just a piece that we forget about.
I just found several bits of work I had tossed into a pile that will be refreshed and sent out on a submission journey. They are hot messes at the moment, but that can be fixed. It was surprising how much I actually have filed away in journals, scrap piles of paper, and old notebooks. I really think it is hard for some of the best works to get into the hands of readers due to the writer themselves filing it away.
Those bits of scraps I tucked away for a rainy day have some good parts to them. What will it take to get out of my own slush pile and become a polished piece ready for reading? Well, I think in 2018 we will find that answer out.
Blackballing literary agents, should you do it?
I found myself on YouTube watching different videos late one night. I stumbled upon this literary agent, who I will not name here, doing a video about their views on Indie publishing and book success in general. I have to say they started out well enough, but then they ended up sounding like a network marketing rep.
If you start out confident telling writers you know the industry and promise them success for their manuscripts based only on them working with you, then don’t sabotage yourself by sounding like a network marketing scam artist middle of the pitch. This lit agent has been added to my blackball list. Coming off arrogant, ignorant, and pessimistic landed them there.
First, if you just promised success don’t follow that up with if you have five books not selling a specific number in a particular time you are a failure and won’t get another manuscript sold to a publishing company ever. That told me as a writer that arrogant “I can make you great because you work with me” is a lie.
Really if you want to actually convince me you are the bomb as a literary agent, then you should tell me how you can do for my manuscript what those other five reps or lack thereof couldn’t. Do not assume I believe you are the key to success. There are too many lit reps out there for me to think you hold all the magic.
The second mistake is telling me that having one or more self-published or traditionally published books not sell well makes me a waste of your time. If you damn to hell a new stand-alone manuscript based on the past learning experiences of a person, then you will miss the next best author. It is a lot like telling a baby you wet yourself in the past so you can’t gain access to the toilet today. Silly right?
The above brings me to number three strike against this person. Pessimistic thought process. I personally believe you get out of those around you what you put into them. I do not want to work with someone who honestly thinks failure can’t be overcome. Period. There it is right there. If you really are going to post on a public YouTube channel that someone is a failure because of their past and will never become anything but a failure do not be shocked when I blackball you. Even if this lit agent contacted me today with a contract, I would refuse it. I am not desperate nor do a desire to be in a business relationship with someone who has no hope, vision, or passion for making tomorrow more successful than today.
Writers, authors, and those who desire success don’t forget the part personal growth plays in making best seller books happen. If we stay the same and never grow ourselves as industry professionals, then success will never happen. Also, without risk success will not come to us. You must start somewhere, and that place doesn’t represent your end. Surround yourself with confident professionals who promote bettering your skills as a writer. Remember your literary agent cannot make your book something great. You as the writer must develop that greatness, and that doesn’t happen without hard work and a lot of personal growth.
Your Favorite Small Town Writer,