Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Royal British Publishing Snub

Keeping to my International theme of late, here's a form rejection from what appears to be a British publishing house.  Anyone know the outfit or the publishing director?  It's a rather chilly rub off, no?


E. said...
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Anonymous said...

How is this helpful information? Helpful to know that we do not "enter into correspondence" with real writers? I don't think so. Not now and not in the future.

How about this pearl of wisdom: Go to the library and use a directory to get an agent!

If I could get agents that easily, I would not occasional roll the dice to try to get a publisher interested in my work without an agent, who sometimes seems harder to get to than an editor. I've gotten many personal notes from editors when I've written without an agent. Agents are boobs anyways.

Do you think most writers need this information? The name of a directory or hand book? Puhleeze!

Bitterly Books said...

"Do you think most writers need this information? The name of a directory or hand book? Puhleeze!"

I think you need to make the distinction between "most writers" and "the people who think it's a good idea to contact Hodder & Stoughton."

It's possible that they developed this form letter in response to the majority of submissions they were receiving (e.g., cocktail napkins filled with notes about a first kiss, the "family history" pages that someone ripped out of their bible, a monologue written in the voice of their cat). Just because you take writing seriously and attempt to research agents (and/or publishers) who are suitable to represent your work, you cannot say the same about everyone else who uses the postal service.

Then again, H&S could just be a bunch of dicks.

heynonnynonymous said...

Are submitters of fiction really as bad as all that?

I worked for a few years as an assistant in a literary agency, reading slush from the slush pile. I didn't find people to be as dumb as they are presumed to be by most of these condescending form letters and by the editors, say, over at Virginia Quarterly.

For the most part I found slush-pile writers to be earnest people with hopes and dreams, not all of them terrible at the craft or such stupid idiots that they didn't know which way was up. I think that people who think that, who put that image out there, are pretentious literary posers, who like to make the little guy feel bad, so they can feel good.

True that the majority were not writers and that the agency almost never chose to represent them, but only because they were not well connected, or were too early on in their career, or didn't have an MFA and an influential professor helping them shop their manuscript around town.

Some people do submit directly to publishers and get picked up by an editor, and then find an agent. It has happened in the history of publishing. I've seen it with my own eyes.

But, then again: bunch of dicks. Maybe. Maybe.