The Mail I Get

I am not a publisher, editor, or studio chief. I don't buy books or screenplays. And yet I am constantly being pitched manuscripts and screenplays by aspiring writers.  Here's the introduction from a particularly inept unsolicited pitch that I got today:

Mr. Goldbrg, 

My name is Theodore Chambers, and I am an aspiring author. No, I take that back. I AM an author.
Just not published yet! I have just completed my first novel, and am sending feelers out to highly selected
group of publishing industry luminarios to invite them (you!) to take your seasoned red pen to my
new manuscript and mark away, giving me all your honest thoughts on pacing, character, setting,
theme, and plot devices. I know in my heart of hearts that I am destined to be a famous author,
and I think you will see the potential here for joining me on this journey. Just imagine if Nora Roberts
had come to you, Mr. Goldbrg, and said please look at my first manuscript. If you had accepted
that challenge, you would be spoken of today in even greater tones than you already are. Here is your chance
to make up for missing out on that!

Let me see if I have this straight — since I didn't have the opportunity to read Nora Roberts' first manuscript and be spoken of  in "even greater tones" than I already am, I should now devote days of my time to reading, editing, and critiquing a manuscript from a total stranger who can't even spell my name? Gee, how could I resist an opportunity like that!? But wait, there's more:

Please let me know ASAP if you would like to see the manuscript, or perhaps if you are already intrigued enough
we can possibly discuss potential agents or editors. I am more than willing to cut you in on a finder's fee if anything
comes from you.

How generous. Needless to say, I won't be asking to read his "soon-to-be published novel titled THE ARGOSY AGONY." Clearly, this "destined to be famous author" has simply spammed every established novelist with a blog or website (his "highly selected group of publishing industry luminarios") with his solicitation, which includes a lengthy (and awful) plot summary that's riddled with typos and miss-spellings.  The sad thing is that he doesn't realize what a bad impression he's creating among the "luminarios" that he believes that he's destined to join…and how self-destructive his solicitation actiually is.

13 thoughts on “The Mail I Get”

  1. I guess all of us at one time or another have fancied we might be writers. I did years ago. But I can’t imagine inflicting myself on any writer with such nonsense and expect to be taken seriously.
    Why do such people believe they are the only ones with such ideas and that any writer is just waiting to jump at the chance to get in on the beginning of a “great” career.

  2. My guess as to why emails like this get sent is that people get desperate. They want, maybe, to make money through writing, but they know in the pit of their stomach (or their soul) that they can’t do it and don’t know how. So they look to those who are successful to help them out, to relieve the despair. I feel sorry for anybody in this situation. The way out is to keep learning the craft until the person writes a really good book, and then to submit it to an agent, who will then want to represent it. There’s no shortcut via the help of others. But this seems to be one of the hardest things to learn. But the thrill of it is, that when the person masters the craft, then writing is an incredible high, a great way to earn a living and a great way to share insights about life with others. It’s worth the time spent. So just keep at it. The day really does come when you know you can write well, and that your book deserves to be published and to have its success.

  3. And I must add in defense of Theodore, I have spent countless hours listening to Lee cry in his beer over that lost opportunity to have edited Nora Roberts first manuscript and thus, be spoken of in greater tones.
    We all know the tones in which Lee is spoken of are more like that of a Casio keyboard rather than a Steinway grand.
    Oh, Lee, Lee… what might have been.

  4. What I admire most about Mr. Chambers is his exquisite ego and self-confidence. I’ve written 28 novels and have convinced myself that each one is the worst piece of shit in the history of the universe, the ham-handed horror that will finally push my editor into an irreversible coma.
    Please Mr. Chambers, take your seasoned pen and tell me how to be like you.

  5. Gosh, I feel left out.
    Um–no I don’t.
    I sense another potential victim for Publish America is on the way.
    Dear Unpubbed Author,
    Get your importune arse over to Absolute Write and learn the basic protocols and etiquette.
    Here’s the first lesson for free: you NEVER do what you just did.
    Count yourself lucky your name was left out.
    Your homework for tonight is to figure out how to use the spell check and to memorize Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style.”

  6. Your article reminded me of a resume I received from a young man several years ago. Despite the fact that he was graduated from a highly regarded University, he requested consideration for a position as a “prufreader.” To paraphrase a line from a famous movie: of all the words in the English language ….

  7. Hahahahahaha!! Thank you for publishing this email! I am about to start the journey of trying to get my first book published and have been talking with my writing society friends about the etiquitte, etc for over a year but I am still soooo nervous about being laughed at. I’m sure I still will be, but this makes me feel a whole lot better!

  8. I recently got the following email from Amazon:
    “We’ve noticed that customers who have purchased or rated Bangkok Laws by Jim Michael Hansen have also purchased Shatter by Michael Robotham. For this reason, you might like to know that Shatter will be released on March 17, 2009. You can pre-order yours at a savings of $8.48 by following the link below.”
    Thus it appears that Amazon is indeed sending emails to purchases of AUTHOR 1 regarding upcoming books by AUTHOR 2. This will dramatically increase the number of emails sent by Amazon.
    Neither JMH nor the publisher (Dark Sky) paid for this email or even knew about it beforehand.


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