As Per Your Request: A "NOT TO DO" List

Saturday, August 18, 2007
Happy Saturday, fellow bloggers and blogesses!

One of our wonderful readers stated in another blog entry that she would like to read more tips on what not to do when submitting to editors or publishers. I thought this idea was brilliant and was just about to write something sparkling on the subject when I came across this excerpt from a newsletter I received from Writers’ Relief, Inc.

It’s a witty list of pointers on “How To Be An Annoying Author”. I thought it was a hilarious way to talk about the things you should avoid doing when preparing your work to submit or in dealing with editors (I’m sure you editors out there will appreciate this…).

Enjoy your weekend and happy writing, all.



As a writer, you have many strategies at your disposal for upping your nuisance factor, but the following are a few surefire ways to get a good, solid reputation as a seriously annoying author!

For the author awaiting acceptance:

Submit work based on a theme that has been overused. Editors hate to see fresh, original work!

Make good use of clich├ęs and tired metaphors and similes, and submit characters that are flat and one dimensional.

Be sure that your cover or query letter is filled with grammatical errors and the liberal use of White-Out (coffee stains are great as well). Address it: "To Whom it May Concern." As an author, you are far too busy with the creative process of writing to research the appropriate editor’s name.

Disregard the publisher’s guidelines, such as formatting, word count, and subject matter. Send a sexy romance novel to a Christian book publisher. Use single spacing and a fun font, like Bazooka or a calligraphy font. It may be hard to read, but it sure does make an impression!

Submit nonfiction without fact-checking and without citing references. Make up erroneous data or claim others’ research as your own. You can also make up words and new sentence constructions. If your work contains URLs that are defunct, that’s okay too. That’s what copy editors are for.

Call on a daily basis soon after your submission has been sent to see if it was received. Ask what the holdup is. Ask whoever answers the phone to look for it while you hold. Ask again what the holdup is. Don’t worry about coming across as overbearing and unprofessional—persistence is what matters.

For the author whose work has been accepted:

Don’t return your editor’s phone calls or E-mails. Or answer them at your leisure, possibly a week or so later.

Ignore deadlines. If a revision is due in two weeks, make sure you extend that by at least a week, citing several personal reasons for the delay. Publicity and marketing schedules aren’t all that important.

Become firmly attached to your idea of cover art or a book title. Refuse to entertain alternative concepts, and never defer to the publisher’s expertise.

Be inflexible when it comes to publicity opportunities. You are the author, and therefore you can be choosy about when and where you want to be available.

Complain vociferously, through repeated phone calls and/or E-mails, if any aspect of the publishing process moves too slowly or otherwise offends you. Put your editor’s phone number on speed dial. Take the lead and lend the publicity department a helping hand. Forge ahead and set up book signings and speaking engagements on your own. If they interfere with the publisher’s plan, throw a small fit and threaten to sue.

Of course, if you are unable to adhere to these simple rules, you run the risk of getting a reputation as a serious, professional writer. And that would be tragic.


Sue said...

Chynna, this was a great read and an equally helpful post. It's fun to think about what NOT to do in this light-hearted manner. I especially enjoyed the Bazooka-style font comment. This definitely instructs writers how to annoy and do it extremely well! LOL. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I love reading advice presented in a witty manner, as opposed to a finger-wagging way. Bravo! :)

Angela Mackintosh said...

This is hilarious! I was laughing out loud! We should do more posts like this.

Super funny AND helpful. Good combo :-)

Chynna said...

LOL I'm so glad you all enjoyed this one. Ang, I laughed out loud while reading it too!!! =oD

Marci, I'm with you: I like stuff presented in a more witty than finger pointing manner (that's more my style! LOL). I find people listen to you better that way. ;o)

Sue, I don't even know what Bazooka-style is but I just loved that. ;oD


Sarabeth said...

I liked it. I liked it. Thank you.

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