Friday, May 22, 2015

A Dozen Ways to be an Unprofessional Writer

We just finished intake for an anthology here at the airship. So, let us talk about professionalism. Better yet, let us talk about unprofessional author behavior.

These may be exaggerated for comedic effect. Or not. (the pink crayon has happened) And full confession, I've done at least two of them.

How to be an Unprofessional Writer

1) Do not pay any attention to the call. At all. Editors just put that there to mess with your head. If the editor wants m/m, send them heterosexual pegging. If the editor asks for maledom/femsub het, send them that hot lesbian kink scene. When you're sending to Inkstained Succubus, a kink-positive, pagan-woman-run press, be sure to send the most misogynistic, sex-negative bit of Christian Inspirational sub-shaming you have. You know they'll like it.

2) Send a cover letter. Be sure it is long. Use many different fonts and colors. Flatter the editors. Neg the editors so they will feel obligated to take on so fine a writer as you to build up their pathetic house. Praise your own work. Write it in pink crayon on orange construction paper.
By no means should you do something as simple as "Here is [story title] for your [Anthology title]. It is attached as a [wordcount number] word file in .doc format" followed by a three sentence summary, a three sentence biography, your writing name and legal name, address and phone number.

3) Forget to attach the document file. If you do remember to attach it, use an orphan format such as TeX or .rtf or .odt. Never, ever send a file in .doc  Make them work for it.

4) Misspell your own name. Bonus points if it comes out Roonil Wazlib.

5) Misspell their names. Address the note to an entirely different house than the one you sent it to. If you're sending it to Inkstained Succubus, call us Samhain. If you're sending to Ellora's Cave, call them Torquere.

6) Never format the story. Inkstained Succubus provides a handy dandy template to put your story into that will format it for you. You must ignore this! Always put pages of stuff before the actual story. Never use this easy-to-understand guide to formatting a short story.  This is your chance to show off your mastery of fonts and pagination and graphic insertion! Don't limit yourself to a simple header of name, address and word count.

7) Send the story to the editor's personal email, not the submission email on the call page. This is how they know you care.

8)  Be sure you've written the story in present tense. In second person if possible.

9) Never take NO for an answer. If the editors reject you, it is a challenge, not a final decision. Send them a letter pointing out exactly how you did everything right and how they are completely wrong. Extra kudos for quoting the entire house style manual (which you clearly know better than the people who wrote it) at them.

10) If you are given a revise and resubmit letter, change two commas. Ignore all the other suggestions.

11) If you are accepted, ignore all edits. Do not fill out that annoying little personal information sheet. All your info is on your twitter page. Not one single typo can be altered of your deathless prose!

12) When the galley edits come around, do a complete rewrite. Change everyone's name, the main plot and alter the sequence of events. It's only a minor change after all...

13)  Never tell anyone you have a book published, Not your friends. Not your family. Don't mention it on any social media. You wouldn't want it to sell.

Please feel free to add your own tips on how to be unprofessional.

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