Wednesday, January 12, 2011

how much is rush mail?

I recently met a literary agent at another author's event (okay, truth: it was an event I host every month, but because of the impending blizzard I was a bit crazed and mentioned to this visiting agent that I had a manuscript)...and that agent asked to see my novel.

The rush is liquid madness.

you go home. you stare at the buisness card with its precious email address. you open up the manuscript, you stay up until 3am, reading it "fresh" for the zillionth time, hoping against hope that it held up over time.

and it did. And it does. At least for the fifty pages or so that you manage to read before falling asleep on your keyboard that night.

and then in the cold light of the next day, you sort through the various ways you might get said manuscript to said agent. And what do you think of? Time and Cost. Hundreds of pages? It's going to fry your toner, and quite possibly your whole printer. But to use an online service (I recommend if you've got extra cash) is pricey and takes longer.

Cost. Cost. Cost. Rush delivery? Sign for it? Bring it over in a file folder tied with rubberbands? It feels like every single detail is going to make or break the acceptance rate of your masterpiece.

but will it?

allow me to lay aside that furry writer's hat I've just been wearing. As an editor, I get pissed off to receive coffee-ringed, wrinkled, single-spaced manuscripts, yes. Yes I do. I curse people who can't spell, dont know a pronoun from a verb, and need an introduction to basic grammar though they wave a fancy MFA. I call them rude, disrespectful, unprofessional, and worse.


I have never rejected someone for messy work; nor have I rejected someone because it took them four more days to do the final draft than I expected. If there is talent, it will shine through. It will sing. And it will still be there in two days or three. So save your headaches for the first and last sentence and mail the slightly-faded but otherwise neatly typed pages in a plain envelope with ordinary first-class mail. If you have a good story, there is nothing that will hide it from the world.

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