Monday, November 06, 2006

A Very Valid Response From The Rejecter

Recently in a series of posts starting with "Give Me A Break" and then "Deep Throat" and then A Climate Of Fear - I vented and raved and mouthed off about the anonymous trend on Blogs of many professionals in the publishing industry. One of these people whom I mentioned was one who calls herself The Rejector.

Despite rantings and ravings, I personally believe that one must give credit where credit is due. There is simply no substitute for being fair and professional specifically if I myself demand it from those whom I work with. So this morning I woke up to a comment request for publication by The Rejector who had the decency and courage to comment and state her opinion on the post entitled: A Climate Of Fear.

Since this is a comment and thus left for publication I approved its posting under the correct article and I am putting it out here for a separate post as well. And once you read her answer below it is my specific answer in public for the writers out there. She wrote:

I just found this and would like to clarify something. The reason I chose to remain anonymous when creating my blog was because of many negative experiences in the past with people hunting me down when they found out I worked in publishing. Either they try to form some kind of friendship with me that would hopefully end in me championing their manuscript despite their refusal to take out the unnecessary three-way vampire lesbian sex scene or they would try to punch me (this happened) in a hallway because they realized I was the person who could have, in theory, rejected their work. I don't want friends to punch me OR send me stories about lesbian vampires who have lots and lots of poorly-written sex. And the correct spelling, which appears on my website, is "rejecter." The "rejector" business got started because of a typo in my original email address link and I never felt compelled to stop it because it makes me sound like a robot who destroys cities. By the way, please say hi to Ir-HaKodesh for me, and tell it to get better gastroenterologists so I can move there.
First of all I give The Rejecter 5 stars for not only taking the time to comment but for also trying in a normal, calm manner to explain her position. That in and of itself deserves credit.

But to the heart of the matter now, which I will say does not change my mind about my opinion about anonymous Blogs.

To all the writers, wannabes, authors, published and not published, frustrated, temperamental, moody, nasty, nice, disgusting, compassionate - out there:

If this is the way you react to a rejection, then you really need serious help. If this is how the normative writer reacts to being told "NO" then I must say I do understand the Rejecter's stance. Indeed, then it flips the table as it were, making "heaven into earth and earth into heaven" (to paraphrase a Talmudic statement). (And I strongly suggest you look at this post here, entitled - "Rejection, Dejection, Names All Wrong, Coffee Stains and Reading Tea-Leaves")

I find it repugnant that people are forced to hide behind anonymous names because they may be attacked, punched, vilified - just for doing their jobs. Whereas there are nut cases everywhere, this kind of behaviour is not something anyone should have to put up with. I assume Miss Snark hides behind her persona to alleviate the need of getting 10,000 queries a week. I also assumed (and assumption is the mother of all errors) that others adopted the anonymous stance in order to grab hold of the coattails of Miss Snark's success.

However, if a query letter reader has to remain anonymous just so she can avoid going to the hospital because she may be punched out by some asshole wannabe - then I really do not know what to say in such a case. (And poorly written sex scenes are the worst form of torture in reading!)

Make no mistake. I am not backing down from my opinion on anonymous blogs. I am saying that it seems the The Rejecter has a clear and valid point.

And do not even entertain the thought that I may know who The Rejecter is or that I have had a query rejected by her. It is very possible that I have, I simple do not know. (Probable, since I really stink at queries.)

Authors - if you act like animals you are going to be treated like animals. If you act like professionals you will be treated that way. I like to think that in business dealings I act professionally. Thus I expect the same in return. And therefore despite all when I acquire knowledge, I must know who is imparting this knowledge.

In any case, The Rejecter (Rejector) has a point. A valid one. It would be good for all of us to keep that in mind.


Talia Mana said...

Hah! interesting post from the rejecter. unfortunately i can imagine lit agents and their assistants being harrassed by wannabes so the response makes sense. My only concern (and this is a general concern, not specific to the rejecter) is that the reader has no way to know whether the anonymous advisor is qualified to give that advice.

With some, such as, Evil Editor and Miss Snark the advice makes it clear that the individuals have expertise. I'm not sure that's true of all lit blogs out there. In the AbsoluteWrite thread with lit agent blogs there is some speculation that some of those blogs are not by lit agents at all!!!

Teddy said...

Talia, that is exactly why I am not backing down from my original stance as to the viability of anonymous blogs etc. However, to be fair here, I have gone through the Blog of the The Rejecter who seems to not offer advice per-say, but just gives an understanding of what the process is like. And it is also clear here, that The Rejecter makes it absolutely clear that all he/she is doing is reading query letters.

My ranting on the subject will not end. I just want serious authors to be wary of anonymous "tips" and "information" - before turning Blogs into "holy sites of the Masters".

As to authors who do not understand the word "NO" and cannot handle rejection. They should seek out professional help. Anything more than saying "Thank you for spending the time to review my material" is unwarranted and just plain stupid.