Dear Future Publisher,
I’ve been called picky.
I’ve been told I should lower my standards.
I’ve been told it’ll happen when I least expect it.
I’ve been told that with so many unpublished girls and so few publishers, the odds aren’t in my favour.
I’ve been told to maximize my chances by sending my stuff to as many people as possible, even if I’m not really interested in them.
I’ve been told to use a stock letter, even though that seems so impersonal, not responding to each person’s interests specifically, because it saves time, because then I can send off more queries, because it’s all a numbers game.
I’ve been told to personalize each letter, to write it based on each recipient, not to generalize but to show the effort and the care and the interest that are behind it all, to show the research.
I’ve been told rejection is a part of it, and that I should get used to it.
I’ve been told I don’t get to do the rejecting, even though it’s my work, even though a part of me thinks publishers should have to petition authors for the right to publish their work, not the reverse.
I’ve been told I’m lucky to live in a world when these things can happen online, that it makes it convenient, so easy, success and happiness just a click away.
I’ve been told I should be open to a long distance working relationship, because there are more publishers across the border, and after all, with the internet, why not.
I’ve been told I’m too quirky, that I should tame the crazy, sanitize my voice, and write what is conventional if I want to be accepted.
I’ve been told I need to be more marketable.
I’ve been told that I need to make myself stand out, stand apart from the hordes, make someone notice me.
I’ve been told to be patient.
I’ve been told publishers will fall into my path like gifts from heaven if, that is, I deserve it.
I’ve been told not to accept no as an answer, which sounds a little stalkerish.
I’ve been told to break the rules, and to follow the rules, and to make my own rules.
I’ve been told to give up, and accept life as it is.
I’ve been told I’d have better luck as a man.
But you know what? I think I’m worth the best. And I’m willing to wait for the best. And I’m willing to work for the best. I want to publish my work in my voice under my name, with a publisher who will give my work the best chance at success, and whose mandate corresponds with my manuscript. I want to publish with someone I trust and respect, and who believes in my work. I want the real thing.
It doesn’t seem a lot to ask.