Publish or Die! Part 3

January 14, 2009

It’s been a good news/bad news kinda day in my ongoing quest to publish my novel, Brown Girls.

Let’s start with the good news because a smile can hide so much pain:

My great and kind and oh-so-talented friend, Calgary-based novelist Jeff Buick (and, yes, I am sucking up to him big time), remained true to his vow to start 2009 by removing Brown Girls from his In box, if only to stop me rubbing against his legs like a hungry cat.

He sent me several comments, one of which read: “So far I like it. It’s drawing me in, and that’s exactly what I want.”

I did mention that Jeff is a class act and a superb author, right? Check out his website ( and then get thee to a bookstore and buy all his novels. 


And now the bad news: my first form rejection letter of 2009 has arrived.

I found Nathan Bransford’s blog ( via a tag surf on WordPress. Nathan works for Curtis Brown out of an office in San Francisco. His blog site is very informative and I recommend all wannabe writers check it out and read/heed his advice and tips.

The one thing that caught my eye was Nathan’s insistence on dashing all hope, ah, automatically rejecting everything, ah, answering all communiques as quickly as possible. His thought process is along the lines of, why let all these pesky queries from mouth-breathing, basement-dwelling losers clog up my e-mail server?

And, true to his word, I was rejected in a matter of a mere 15 hours. I’m guessing it only took that long because Nathan’s office was closed for the day when I sent my query and so I was forced to wait until he had his first morning coffee in hand before he summoned the firing squad.

I present his letter verbatim:

Dear John, Thank you for your recent e-mail and for reading my blog, I appreciate it. I regret to say that I don’t feel that I’m the most appropriate agent for your work. However, opinions vary considerably in this business, and I wish you the best of luck in your search for representation. Best wishes, Nathan

I present my blog post answer verbatim:

Dear Nathan, Thank you for your prompt reply. As I mentioned in my carefully-crafted query letter (designed by following your instructions to the letter and still, like an IKEA shelving unit, somehow coming up a few screws short), no one wants to stand on the trapdoor for 12 weeks while the man in the black hood fiddles with the lever. Better a quick drop into oblivion than days of bright and shiny hope. My only regret is I will not be paying you the commission when Brown Girls is published. And it will be. The next time I’m in San Francisco, I shall look for you, sitting on a corner, selling pencils out of a cup. I may actually feel a slight twinge of sorrow for you. Or it might be pity. I’m not sure, because, as you well know, opinions tend to vary considerably. Best wishes, John


If you’ve formed the impression that I’m not about to fawn all over literary agents who’ve rejected me, while also not giving a rat’s bum that this attitude may somehow result in me being blackballed by the entire industry, then go to the front of the class.

Would you smile and wave at the driver who just cut you off in traffic, playing nice on the slim chance you might meet one of his workmates sometime in the future? Me neither.

I’d flip him the bird and, given the opportunity, kick him up the ass.

Welcome to Publish or Die!, bitch.

If you’re going to piss all over my dreams, don’t expect me to shake your dick later and compliment your accuracy. Not in this lifetime, friendo.


One Response to “Publish or Die! Part 3”

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