March 22, 2005

How Not to Publish a Book

Notes from an editor:

1. When you send the manuscript to a publisher, send it in a plain, ordinary envelope. Do not wrap the manuscript in plastic wrap, bubble wrap, duct tape, aluminum foil, or all of the above. This will make me think it is a bomb and will scare me a lot.

2. Follow the publisher’s directions. If our website says to send in four copies, send four copies. There is a reason for this. If I have to Xerox your manuscript three times to pass it out to our other editors, I will be very annoyed, and I will be almost infinitely more likely to throw your book in the trash.

3. Do not harass me. If you want to make sure we got your book, sent it return receipt requested. Do not call me every day. Do not leave long, rambling messages on my voicemail about how you were inspired to write this book by a little bird that crapped on your head one morning, thus teaching you that life is infinite struggle. Buddha already said it, and he did it better than you.

4. If you are writing a children’s book, do not tell me that I must publish it because your kids love it. Your kids love you, not your book. Your book almost certainly sucks.

5. If you are writing a children’s book, do not include illustrations of limbs detached from their bodies in an auto wreck, injured animals dripping blood and gore, or adult men in children’s darkened bedrooms. Trust me--if you include pictures of any of the above, we won’t be publishing your book.

And to that guy in prison who wants to write a kids book about how he really, REALLY loves his pretty, little 8-year-old niece, I’m calling the fucking cops.

1 comment:

DeadBug said...

Fecking hysterical. I would like to add to the list, based upon my husband's experience as an aspiring children's book author: Do not reference obscure historical figures, like Prince Clemens von Metternich, or use SAT exam words where simpler ones will do. (Unless you're Lemony Snickett, of course.)