Saturday, April 12, 2008

An ID Badge of Professionalism

I wish there was some way to let editors and agents know that you're a serious writer. I know, the writing is what counts, and a serious writer is willing to invest the time to make the writing and professionalism be what matters most. On the other hand, it would be wonderful if there was a secret code or symbol or handshake or something that would bump us up from the rest.

On thing I've noticed is that if you let others know you're a writer, then there are all kinds of hidden writers that come to you. People who've always thought of writing that one book, or who have a great idea for a novel if they just had the time, or who expect to make it a second career after retirement or during the summer or something. Sometimes they even write those books (thanks NaNoWriMo)...and then the slush pile at agency and publishing houses are filled with crap from people who think that because they've written a book, it deserves to be published because, you know, it's a book. Doesn't matter if it's good or not, it's written.

I have to admit, I used to be that person. I thought the hard part was the writing. But since I've been in this publishing game for awhile, and kept track of publishing news, and learned more about the business and about writing, I wish there was some way to separate myself from the casual writers who don't really know what they're doing, to the people who are really trying to be published and have a fairly decent idea of what it takes to be published and are willing to go the extra mile to get their book publishable. I've wondered, in going over some of my really nice rejections, that if the agent knew that I would be perfectly happy and willing to make revisions and work with them and not be that psycho who gets affronted when you insult her "baby," if that agent would have considered me more seriously. If there was a badge or identification card or something to prove I'm a serious writer...would an agent be more willing to sign on an author they knew needed some tweaking, but was willing to do what it took to get their manuscript better? I've tried hard to perfect my manuscript, and it's evolved since I first wrote it, but I know that a professional would have a better idea of how to make it even better...if the professional only knew how willing I was to do that.

There needs to be something to separate those who care and work from those casual writers...if only!

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