ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Writers Don't Get Any Respect -Why?

Updated on April 7, 2013

I want you to imagine an industry in which there are thousands of suppliers of a product, the suppliers have to beg the producers to use their material, are forced to pay for all business correspondence in either direction, have to use several “go-betweens” to get their products to market, and are generally treated with disdain. Would you do work in such an industry? Well, if you’re a writer who wishes to be published, I must assume that is exactly what you either do or wish to do. I write of course of the publishing industry -- those companies who publish books as well as those who publish magazines. Anyone who has attempted to publish his or her writing, especially if it is fiction, has experienced the “don’t call us, we’ll call you” attitude which has been prevalent for years, but never more so than now.

I’m not writing this to complain about being rejected –- that’s a fact of life and it’s to be expected. If you don’t market the right product with the requisite quality to the right place, you get rejected, in any business. No, what I want to kvetch about is the treatment writers get when trying to deal with agents, editors, and the rest of the members of our industry. Some examples:

- What other industry can you think of in which you have to pay for the business correspondence of the company with which you are dealing? I can understand an editor not wishing to pay the return postage for a several-pound manuscript, but book and magazine publishers expect a SASE for everything. Can’t they afford envelopes and stamps?

- Magazines expect writers to be familiar with their content and that’s fair enough. In the case of the “little” magazines, however, if you cannot find a copy at a bookstore or newsstand (which all too often is the case), they expect to you order a copy for four or five dollars plus (altogether now) a SASE. Why not offer a free copy for the price of postage and handling to a potential contributor?

- Even worse, how about the magazines (and I’ve come across a few) who will only accept submission from people who subscribe to them? It will be a cold day in Hades when this author falls for that. Is this perhaps a ploy merely to increase subscription sales?

- Don’t you just love the book publishers who say “Submit through agent only” as if all you had to do call one up and hire him/her to represent you? If only it were that easy!

- And how about the agents who refer you to a “literary service” to “pre-screen” your manuscript prior to an agent screening it for a publisher (and, of course, charging for it)? How many levels of “screening” do we need? ) I assume it isn’t necessary to even mention the literary agents who charge a “reading fee” for considering manuscripts . . .

- And there the agents who don’t even bother to respond to queries. I know, they say on their website something like “responds if interested.” Okay, fair enough, but would taking two minutes to send an email saying something like “Got it, not for us, thanks” be too much to ask? After all, it is the writer trying to hire you, not the other way round.

It’s bad enough to read something like “receives 100-200 manuscripts per month; accepts 1-2 per issue.” To have to jump through literary hoops to get into those 100-200 to my mind adds insult to injury. I fully realize it’s a case of too many “sellers” and far too few “buyers.” It always amazes me to read of some small “zine” in Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market that has a circulation of less than 100, pays in contributors’ copies (or nothing at all), and receives hundreds of submissions per year. It’s as if there were thousands of small, independent manufacturers of, let’s say, widgets. In addition, there were hundreds of stores that sold widgets. But, the only way to get the widgets to the stores is to go through a few “middle-men” who control the distribution of widgets. (Oh, you can try and sell your own widgets but you end up reaching a very small portion of the market. On top of that, no one will review your product in the widget-enthusiast magazines.) Discouraging, isn’t it?

(A few words about electronic-publishing: yes, you can publish your own works on Lulu, Amazon.com, Smashwords etc. and I have done that. But, at least for now, e-publishing is not where the money is. It’s probably the future, although I’m one of those old-fashioned types who would much rather hold a book in his hand than an e-reader.)

In spite of all the negative statistics we always read about the chances of being published, and in spite of the incredibly cavalier treatment we receive (at least in this writer’s opinion), we continue to write and to submit. Just a thought -– what would happen if everybody said the heck with it and stopped? What would all those pompous editors do then? Beg?


Rise up, ye writers, you have nothing to lose but your rejection slips!
No, I’m no revolutionary. I just want to be published like, presumably, those of you reading this. But, as Rodney Dangerfield used to say, wouldn’t be nice to get “a little respect?”

A Barnes & Noble store - what does it take to get a book on these shelves?
A Barnes & Noble store - what does it take to get a book on these shelves? | Source

UPDATE - MARCH 2013

I have recently published my novel, "Duly Constituted Authority," online. Prior to this, I tried to get it published the "traditional" way. After a couple of rejections from publishers, I decided to try the literary agent route. After all was said and done, I submitted to 80 agents, all via email. Here's the breakdown:

37 agents (46%) rejected the manuscript, usually with a form note. Some took literally months to respond.

43 agents (54%) never bothered to answer at all.

One agent accepted the manuscript but did next to nothing with it and I "fired" her after one year.

I was particularly incensed about one agent who asked to see the manuscript and I promptly sent it to him. After a week or two, I requested some feedback. Nothing. I waited a little longer and emailed again. Zip. Why in Hell ask for the manuscript and then say nothing at all about it?

I complained about this on one of the writers' fora on the Writer magazine website and was told basically "that's tough," and "agents don't owe you anything" or words to that effect.

Aaargh! Anyway, if anyone's interested, you can purchase the novel here for only $2.99:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/213724

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Katty 

      3 years ago

      At last, soeonme comes up with the "right" answer!

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 

      6 years ago from trailer in the country

      Awesome...by the way, I meant hub, not hug...but here's a hug anyway, and good luck on your sales.

    • AlexDrinkH2O profile imageAUTHOR

      AlexDrinkH2O 

      6 years ago from Southern New England, USA

      Yes I have actually - here's the link if you're interested. http://www.amazon.com/The-Ghosts-of-Hanoi-ebook/dp...

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 

      6 years ago from trailer in the country

      Have you considered e-publishing...I wrote a hug on that recently? It is a good alternative if you have something ready.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)