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Monday Musings: More Than 1 Way to Skin a Writer

April 4, 2011

As part of my mundane accounting job I have to fill out withholding tax forms for about 40 different states and cities, plus another 10 or so state unemployment forms.  What makes this really annoying is that each state and city have their own system with their own quirks.  Some, like Detroit, are so backwards they still use paper but most have transitioned to the Web.  Though some, like Missouri withholding or Indiana unemployment, are so obnoxious they demand a convenience charge of up to $3 like they’re TicketMaster just for the “convenience” of filing online instead of using a 40-something-cent stamp.

Anyway, the point is not just to rant about how annoying my job is.  The point is that this would be much easier and take much less time if all these states and cities used the same system, requiring the same information.  But of course they can’t because each state/city is probably unaware of what the other is doing and even if they are aware they think what they’re doing is the best.  Sadly they haven’t asked for my opinion about this, because some of their systems really suck, like the one that requires you to go through 12 steps just to get to entering the tax amounts!

The same thing happens when you look for an agent or publisher.  Ms. Bigshot might want you to submit 5 pages in the Email.  Mr. Big Time though wants 5 pages as an attachment.  Then you get Ms. Hoity Toity who wants 50 pages attached to the Email.  And Mr. Putting on Airs who demands a synopsis and outline.

Look, can’t you assholes all get together and work out one system?  I mean 99% of you are in New York and probably within 10 miles of each other.  Just go to some hotel conference room and come up with one way to do this.  Because I really don’t want to spend hours and hours looking at every stupid, half-assed agency website for their submission guidelines.  Then y’all can stop bitching that people aren’t following your guidelines too.

Except it’s probably like the states and cities.  Even if they are aware of what they’re doing, each agent thinks his/her way is the best.  You know what I think is the best?  The query and maybe 5 pages in the Email.  Cuz chances are you aren’t even going to have your intern read the 50 pages or the outline or the synopsis anyway if you don’t like the query.  So just ask for the query and maybe a couple pages to get a taste and if you want more I’m happy to give you more.

But then again if they made it easy, more people might send them queries.  Wouldn’t want that, would we?

Wednesday I’m gonna shizzle my nizzle.  We talkin’ bout vernacular, bitches!  (Is there anything funnier than a dorky white guy trying to talk like a rapper?  I think not.)


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  1. Don’t forget that some want you to have things saved as a .rtf attachment while others want a word .doc or others want it in the body of the email. Then there are some that insist on Times Roman font, others that want 1.5 line spacing while some prefer double spacing. Some will not look at electronic submissions, others will only take electronic submissions… AY CARAJO!

    • Yeah it really seems like they’re actively trying to dissuade you from submitting to them.

  2. Comes down to personal preferences, I guess.

    Fo shizzle. ;)-

  3. Mmmm actively dissuade I would say no. The image I have in my mind is that of a maharaja or a shiekh who requires you to prostrate yourself just so on the carpet, head lowered, body parallel to the floor, arms placed in the exact position to show supplicance. Only at that point, does the sheikh look up from his bowl of fruits and the servants that fan him to address whether or not you even exist.

  4. I just went through the process of going to all of the different websites of the agents I’m submitting to and copying and pasting all of their requirements in a word doc. I plan to do this for every wave of five I send out. Then I can just go down the word doc and check things off to make sure I have them. It makes life much easier.

    • Sure, jump through all their hoops and they’ll still give you a form rejection. Life’s a bitch.

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