So, here I am, wanting to pitch books. The Writer’s Marketplace was, and is still in some ways, the bible that writers went to to begin navigating that approach to the holy offices of the gatekeepers to success: Publishers and agents. Their contact information and preferred method of contact were detailed out the wazoo. Lovely. Wonderful.
Writers studied it and then took great pains to meet listed outreach criteria, only to find the publisher or agent’s criteria had changed since publication of that year’s manual.
All of a sudden we writers were receiving letters accusing us of being the laziest group ever because we did not research before we sent in our carefully crafted but now hopelessly out-of-date pitch. Often those letters said, “Please consult the latest edition of Writer’s Marketplace for our preferred method of contact. If you cannot afford a copy, go to your local library and consult a copy there.”
Well, after about fifteen years of that vicious first-level-of-hell limbo, I said forget it. And here’s the main reason why:
I was going to writer’s conferences where publisher/agent panels chided the audience about their lack of sophistication and knowledge about the tough, tough,tough, tough job of choosing a book to publish.
But another panel at the same conference would have successful writers being asked how they got their book in front of a publisher and every single one of them talked of years of pitching the proper way and being turned down until finally they said forget that, and proceeded to do something different that got their attention because they were different.
Read Part 3 of The Dichotomous Position of Book Publishers and Agents