open letter

Dear Writers:

Sure, the guidelines look a bit long and verbose, perhaps a tad precious. But still, how long can it take you to read 800 words? Please do so. Please preserve me from ever again having to write a sentence like this: Your description of ______ makes clear the work is almost precisely the opposite of the kind of book I wish to publish.

If I were looking for 500,000+-word novels, I would not have specified an upper limit of 60,000. If I were interested in publishing works of unadorned realism (as you claim yours to be), I would not have said, twice, I wished to read solely science fiction, fantasy, and/or supernatural horror. While I did not specify an iron prohibition against fiction that celebrates pederasty, my distaste for the subject matter is really quite apparent. Likewise, the subtext fairly shouts that I have no patience for poor English and am desperately unlikely to look kindly on acres of pages Babelfished from your native tongue.

Furthermore, and this is perhaps just petty, my goddamn name is all over the guidelines page. It was simply rude to address your cover letter to Sir/Madam.

Also rude: to claim explicitly that your vision, as a straight woman, of homosexual men’s (and boys’, I suppose) lives is truer and more beautiful than a gay man’s.

Saving yourself perhaps five minutes, max, by barely glancing at the guidelines, you have wasted a good deal more than five minutes of my time and generated rather a lot of ill will. Following up with a rude (I believe it was rude: it was basically incomprehensible) and bitter reply to my diplomatic, comprehensive rejection letter—well, I take that as gravy. Salty, unpalatable gravy.

In all good conscience, I cannot wish you better luck as you seek publication elsewhere.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *