The following is an excerpt from my book on publishing titled Vanity Circus, which is available on Amazon and my website at 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com).
Want to know a way to absolutely ruin an utterly brilliant day? Be forced to read a tragically and poorly written manuscript (fiction or non-fiction … doesn’t matter). In my opinion, nothing is worse than being forced to read a manuscript that for all intents and purposes is utter drivel to the extreme – and perhaps the most pain I can possibly experience is also to be subjected to horrible, horrible dialog. Nothing makes a reader wince more than weak dialog written in a stilted and idiotic manner. I promise you that forcing a reader to strain through inane and meaningless dialog will drive them mad. So with that said, it’s time to tell you about The Good, The Bad and The Brutally Ugly when it comes to sifting through and reading a pile of manuscripts.
The Good manuscript while it has a handful of weaknesses – a missing comma or perhaps a misplaced semi-colon – will make the reader smile, having now been enlightened and even delighted by the words. The Good always develop their stories and characters and take their time to really think out what they’re about to submit to an agent or publisher. The Good at least try to proof read their work, and therefore, minimize mistakes. The Good know they need an editor and proof reader and happily and graciously submit to the process with the understanding that it will make their work better. The Good also know they are not designers and do not attempt to draw their covers by hand or use a lame version or low-end design program in an attempt to present their ideas in tacky clip art. The Good submit to the idea that a graphic designer knows his or her job – and sit back and allow them to do it unimpeded with random notes about moving a line a little more to the .5 inch margin. The Good know they are writers and not publicists and do not interfere or ask a dozen questions about why such and such magazine didn’t review their books. They accept public relations as a process and go along for the ride. They show up on time for interviews and happily oblige their publicists with their schedules, as to not miss any media opportunities due to an unexpected flight to China. We like The Good. They understand the value of 3L Publishing services and are a pleasure to work with.
The Bad write marginally good stories or fiction books, but accept the fact it may not be perfect. The Bad do accept an editor’s advice but only after arguing continuously over the use of words like “which” used in place of “that.” The Bad also try and argue about the use of a professional editor at all and change back all the suggested changes in a mental tug of war that they eventually lose over the idea of, “It’s my book not yours.” The Bad also love to boss around the graphic designer – even though they have the artistic skills of a five-year-old. The Bad argue over every design and template and always ask that we use Times New Roman as their font of choice, because, well, it looks right. The Bad fall in love with their horrible dialog and try to convince the editor why it’s so darned good. The Bad also fall in love with their story lines and even defend their right to tell the ending at the beginning. The Bad want to choose their own printer, because they’re cheaper. The Bad don’t listen to reason when we plead with them not interfere with the production process by calling our sales representative on their own without our permission – and then wonder where all the confusion came from. The Bad really secretly wish we would just go away and let them publish their books on their own – but they also know just enough to know better. The Bad don’t need public relations – the book will sell itself. And if they do invest in public relations, they spend $500 on a press release they intend to pitch on their own with no awareness that the press will laugh at the writer as publicist and not take it seriously.The Brutally Ugly insists their writing doesn’t need an editor or proofer … period. The Brutally Ugly also explain that their manuscripts don’t need an editor because their friend Daisy who is an English teacher at Pookipsie High School in Idaho said so. The Brutally Ugly argue when we insist they rename the book from The Cabbage Patch Monster Rides Across America – and it’s not a kid’s book. In fact, The Brutally Ugly names their books Shattered Lives and insists the name is original – even though we have 10 other submissions with that title. The Brutally Ugly believe they don’t need a graphic design either and they can design their own covers, see and doesn’t that clip art look awesome, dude! The Brutally Ugly also tell the whole story in the first line of the book; they don’t develop the story; they have too many characters running around to know the difference; and their dialog sounds like two two-year-olds in deep conversation. The Brutally Ugly’s work is, in fact, so bad that 3L Publishing can’t even revive it with a trip to our friendly neighborhood writing coach. The Brutally Ugly tell us our company is “dubious” when we pass and also tend to scream at us when we reject their manuscript by yelling, “I pass on you!” … sometimes even in Russian. We read one page of The Brutally Ugly’s work and know where it goes – on the rejection pile.
The Brutally Ugly
The Brutally Ugly