How to lose a publisher in 10 days
Better to submit and be rejected, than never submit at all... or is it?
“I’ve lost a publisher and I don’t know why. How do I ensure I keep getting rejected?”
That’s the question I never always hear. When most people submit their manuscripts to a publisher, they want to get their work published. As such, most of our blog posts are dedicated to helping these industrious storytellers see their dreams come to light. But what about all those poor, self-defeating, ‘never try, never fail’ writers out there?
Never fear, for here is a helpful ten-step process to losing a publisher’s interest!
DAY 1: IGNORE THE GUIDELINES
Every publishing house has submission guidelines to ensure a smooth review process. Instead of abiding by these, why not ignore them completely? If you’ve written a poetry book and the publisher’s guidelines say they don’t accept poetry, submit it anyway! You want publishers to pick up your manuscript thinking they’re going to a New York Knicks game but instead find themselves at a Céline Dion concert. Remember – confusion is key.
DAY 2: STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE
An editor’s job and personal hobby is to read great stories. So why not put zero effort into the actual story? Instead of focusing on your craft and letting your work speak for itself, try to stand out in other ways. Use comic sans. Change the font colour to fluorescent pink and magnify it to size 60. Include a picture of a Chinese crested dog – they’ll be sure to enjoy the hairless breed.
DAY 3: RESEARCH IS FOR CHUMPS
Approach publishers like you would the modern dating world. Openly play the field – swipe right on every publisher that walks the earth and send a mass email to all of them. The key here is to be unoriginal, impersonal and just plain awkward. You want to show them you haven’t researched them at all. Then tell them they are only the house for you. In fact, why not send your story to the marketing department instead of editorial? Or address them vaguely as ‘Dear Sirs,’ ignoring the fact that 78% of publishing professionals are women. Editors will definitely appreciate your lack of care, effort and respect.
DAY 4: BE LAZY
A publisher is looking for the Isadora diamond necklace personified. They want to hear from writers who take pride in their work and presentation, so you’ll want to be sloppy instead. Show them how lazy, rushed and thoughtless you can be! Consider sending a half-finished story. And paragraphs – who needs ’em? Another trick is to copy and paste your entire 85,000-word manuscript into the body of your email. Extra points if your story isn’t written in a language your chosen publisher can speak. Ideally an editor will open your submission and immediately break for lunch.
DAY 5: AIR YOUR DIRTY LAUNDRY
An author bio is a professional document that shows an author is friendly, driven and passionate. So be sure to mention the fun fact that every major publishing house has a restraining order out against you! Your bio is a great way to build a foundation for a long-term working relationship between you and the editor. So why not use Photoshop to composite your faces together to see what your kids would look like? The editor will love to see the family album!
DAY 6: DON’T SEND A SYNOPSIS, SEND A BLURB
If the publisher requests you include a synopsis in your submission, why not make life difficult by sending a blurb instead? Or better yet, don't include anything at all! A hallmark of a great writer is a great reader, so show them you haven’t read their instructions. If they ask for a small, diet coke with no ice, be sure to give them a regular coke with ice.
DAY 7: KEEP ASKING ABOUT YOUR MANUSCRIPT, DAILY
There is no better way to kill a love fern than to repeatedly ask how your manuscript is going. How are you finding it? What are your thoughts? I know you said you can't give me feedback, but can you give me feedback? Ring them in the middle of the night. Tell them everything you had to eat that day. Befriend their mother. They’ll remember you, but for all the wrong reasons.
DAY 8: BE AGGRESSIVE, BE BE AGGRESSIVE
If rejected, why not burn bridges forever by telling the editor to go frost him or herself? Take the rejection personally and forget about retaining your composure. Accuse them of hating you personally. Tell them they don’t know how to do their job. You want to show off your unprofessionalism in all its glory, so consider sending a death threat. After all, threatening the editor will always be a timeless way to get your name blacklisted.
DAY 9: PLAGIARISE
All is fair in love and war. So rather than writing something original, consider plagiarism! Publishers will be thrilled to read about vampire lovers, Eduardo and Belle, or a trio of wizarding friends called Harriet, Ronnie and Hermes. You could even send them the entire screenplay of Sleepless in Seattle. No one will call 'bullshit!' and there definitely won't be any legal issues surrounding the publishing of your work.
DAY 10: DON’T ATTACH YOUR MANUSCRIPT
A sure way to lose a publisher is to forget to actually attach the manuscript to your email. You could even intentionally forget to add the attachment. After all, publishers are creative, and this way they can simply imagine the story! This one’s pretty foolproof, and genius, because if you’re planning to be rejected, why bother sending your work at all?
And at the end of the day, even if all these steps fail, don’t worry.
’Cause you can’t lose something you never had!