Really Stupid Submission Guidelines

I’m getting ready to begin the submission process again to the few publishers/agents who are actually accepting unsolicited manuscripts.

I like to keep things simple and direct, and some of the submission guidelines I’ve come across strike me as nothing more than making a writer jump through hoops. The publishers/agents would have me believe that sticking to a persnickety set of rules that have nothing to do with the manuscript is somehow a display of how professional a writer I am.

What a load of crap.

It’s really about seeing how much control they can exercise over a writer and just how much crap we’ll put up with just to be published.

Somebody had to say it.

My personal favorite is the demand that I include an essay with my submission explaining why my story is better than any other and should be chosen by said publisher/agent.

Would you also like a 500-word essay on how I spent my summer vacation?

Any publisher/agent with that low an opinion of writers is not worth my time or yours.

Each manuscript I submit is neatly typed and error free.  It’s double-spaced for ease of reading.  My contact information is included.  My query letter is to the point and includes the title, a synopsis of the story, and a brief biography.

Somebody needs to remind the powers that be that it’s about the story.  Jumping through hoops is for trained poodles, not serious writers.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mlrover
    Sep 01, 2014 @ 17:44:21

    You are a goddess and deserve a marching band to go along with that delicious send-up of what writers must tolerate. We are writers, not content providers. How many more ways can they think up to insult us? Guess I shouldnt’ go there.


  2. speckofawesome
    Sep 02, 2014 @ 03:06:21

    Wow, I’ve never seen the essay request from agents, but I believe! The weird-ass things they request, srsly… As you said, those agents are simply not worth your time.


  3. gpeynon
    Sep 02, 2014 @ 08:39:30

    I agree. Stupid request like this – while no doubt trying to separate those who are really serious about their submissions – are a waste of time and I wouldn’t even bother. Not the kind of agent I want to work with thanks.


  4. lorellepage
    Sep 10, 2014 @ 01:03:59

    I love it! For six different publishers, I had to word my submission differently even though they were generally after the same thing. But just those few different request made a whole extra week of work – per publisher. In the end, I’m not sure how much of my submission they really took notice of, but I guess they might dissuade a few writers here and there, and that’s probably what they want. Great post!


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