I don't remember if I've done this before and I'm too lazy to go back and look. If I have, it's worth repeating, though, so here goes...
These are some really stupid things you can do when you're trying to get your book published (and most of them will get the door slammed in your face and possibly get you blacklisted*):
- Act like yours is the most important book anyone is ever going to read and query accordingly.
- Tell an agent that in order to read your query, they need to go to your website.
- Trash other writers.
- Send things with your query that no one asked for (like your entire manuscript, glitter in the envelope*, prezzies...)
- Call the agency out of the blue.
Okay, those are pretty obvious, but how about...
- Blubbering in your query letter about how you know they won't like your book, but it'd be nice if they looked at it anyways.
- Not checking ahead of time whether the Chris or Pat or Terry you're sending to is a Mr. or a Ms.
- Not bothering to do all the other kinds of research you can on an agent, agency, etc. If they say they never ever represent fantasy, what the hell are you doing sending them the next Shannara series?
- Whining on your website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, Myspace, Livejournal... or any of combination thereof... about the submission process.**
- Send your submissions or any other writing business correspondence from a cutesy ass email address. FluffyBunny4U or IHeartKitties or SmexyDude812 or NYourPointIsWhat does not engender confidence or professionalism.
- Ambush any agent or editor or publishing professional in an elevator, bathroom, parking ramp, clothing store, farmhouse, outhouse or doghouse. Just don't. It makes you look like a stalker, and who wants to work with a stalker?
And the most important thing of all...
- Letting any of this process get to you to the point where you stop writing. That would not only be stupid, it would be tragic.
How about you? Anything I missed? Any thoughts on the stupid things you can do during this process? Feel free to share stories of stupid things you've done, but if you share stories about stupid things others have done, change the names to protect the embarrassed. No one needs to get hurt here.
* Okay, I don't know for sure if there really is a blacklist, but sometimes it feels like there's one, doesn't it?
** Whining is actually part of the process. Rejection hurts. Just don't whine too publicly or too much. No one likes a whiner.