This is going to be a teensy rant.
Yesterday the Kid was in the car with me, singing away in the backseat–Christmas carols, of all things. She started in on “Jingle Bell Rock” but couldn’t remember all the words. When I had to admit that I couldn’t remember all the words either, she stated, “When we get home, you need to go online and find them!”
She’s five. She’s growing up in a world where instant access to information is a given. She’ll have a black belt in google-fu by the time she hits first grade. She knows that you can find out anything by going to the internet.
So why are there so many grown men and women who can’t figure this out? Okay, let me get more specific–why are there so many aspiring writers who can’t figure this out? Breaking into publishing can be seriously bitching hard. I won’t deny that. And it doesn’t really get much easier once you break in. The quest to get published is much like a job hunt. Actually, it IS a job hunt. And just like in the business world, the best and brightest job candidate might get beat out for the job by the candidate who did his or her research on the company and the job opening. In publishing the advantage is going to go to the writer who does the research and directs queries/submissions to the agents/editors who handle their type of work. It’s going to go to the writer who pays attention to–and follows–submission guidelines. It’s going to go to the writer who acts like a professional.
All of this research and information is available online. There are scads of articles and blog entries about how the industry works. Dedicate a portion of your writing time to learning about the industry, or researching markets/agents/submission guidelines.
There’s no excuse for being clueless. Even my five-year-old knows that.