Guidelines Have a Purpose

I posted on Goodreads that I’d like to start reading some more indie titles for my blog, and I’ve gotten a few responses since. (Whoo!) I posted that I’d rather be contacted through my blog’s contact form, so that a potential author would have to scroll down through what I read/don’t read. Makes sense, right?

Of those writers who’ve responded, most of which have followed my guidelines, but one author did not. The author messaged me on Goodreads and commented that I did not post a specific genre. This author gave the title of a book, then requested that I go to their page on Goodreads for more information.

…is this what agents feel like when they receive a query that doesn’t follow their guidelines? I feel… disrespected. I’m offering to read an entire book, and this author couldn’t take two minutes to read 600 words of guidelines?

I’ve read interviews of agents and publishers, and they’ve all commented on this sort of thing. When it’s obvious that the author didn’t take the time to read the guidelines posted on their site, why should they take the precious time out of their busy day to read their query?

I felt bad about ignoring the contact, I still do, but… I mean, it wouldn’t have taken 30 seconds to scan the list of genres I read. It reminds me that there are so many writers out their pushing their books, trying to sell, sell, sell, without really taking the time to put their heart and soul into it. My writing is my life. My books are my children. I’m basically married to my writing career right now, which is probably why my love life is repeatedly in shambles.

A while ago, when I first started up this blog, I posted on a forum I frequent that I’d like to start reading some indie titles, and that fantasy was my genre – I had someone comment that they understood I read fantasy, but they had a great legal thriller. Would I be interested? No. (If you didn’t know, legal thriller is on the don’t-read list. Specifically ‘legal-thrillers.’)

I don’t want to be that person that whines about people not following instructions, but…it’s like another rule of writing – follow guidelines when you submit to journals or agents. While nothing guarantees that you’ll get published, not following guidelines will get your submission deleted or throw into the trash.

Since starting up this indie-review thing, I’ve gotten multiple review requests for books in genres that I do not read, such as suspense/thriller. I read sci-fi and fantasy; my guidelines clearly state as much.

However, I’ve become a lot more conscious of submitting my own work to other reviewers or agents. It’s weird how that happens. I’m getting experience on all sides of the board, and I like it.


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