Ah, fame: Part trois

For a brief while, I was yet again a cover model. But a very brief while. This cover no longer exists.

Neera

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How not to impress a publisher

Note: None of the following is fictional or exaggerated. These are all things that I have personally encountered in little more than a year at a publishing house. Letters, emails, phone calls, strange parcels, some mild stalking. Queries full of bad grammar and spelling come in all the time, but these are some that truly stand out.

  1. Your father calling four people in the office every day and telling them about his ‘intimate relationships’.
  2. Sending unsolicited emails with baby pictures of yourself and details of how and why they were clicked.
  3. Sending, as proof of writing ability, 24″x18″ framed printouts of your excruciatingly bad digital art.
  4. Having your agent send them swear-word riddled emails saying that their Booker winner is a crap book.
  5. Addressing them by the name of a rival publishing house.
  6. Asking them personal questions. Again and again and again.
  7. Asking them to commit to publishing without sharing manuscript because you’re afraid they’ll steal your idea.
  8. Saying ‘XXX is a fictitious and psycho thriller story. It contains 71 pages, 26,190 words, with 105,496 characters.’
  9. Picking up email address from their submissions guidelines page and asking them to mail you submissions guidelines.
  10. Asking them to mail you academic qualifications so you can judge whether they’re fit to evaluate your work.
  11. As follow up to query letter, sending updates regarding property purchases.
  12. Abusing them because they don’t remember your first name and ask for surname and name of manuscript.
  13. Asking for mobile number in order to call post work hours so that they can concentrate on your book alone.
  14. Sending query letters about the same manuscript seven times in two days.
  15. Offering bribes to editors when you’re told that they are not a vanity publishing outfit.
  16. Beginning a query call with the words ‘I want to tell you about myself.’
  17. Saying ‘You are duty-bound to publish my book because I am also a Bengali like you.’
  18. Clogging their inboxes with photographs of your ‘scenic’ tour of Kerala’.
  19. Asking them to commission your idea without revealing what your idea is.
  20. Calling every day and ranting about how their rejection has ruined your life.
  21. Calling to say ‘I have a book idea which will be a bestseller. Can you tell me how to write the book?’
  22. Offering to stay awake for two weeks in a row and recording your thoughts in order to publish them as a novel.
  23. On being told that your book is not something they feel strongly about, yelling ‘But that’s YOUR problem!’
  24. Asking them to create accounts on social networking services just so that they can be on your friends’ list.
  25. Sending them details of a rival publisher and ask them to forward the hard copy of your manuscript to them.
  26. Telling them how you’ve been published online and linking them to your blog.
  27. Asking for money to send them your manuscript.
  28. Sharing anecdotes of your visit to a monastery once graced by the Dalai Lama and why this makes you special.
  29. Calling them and asking for phone numbers of other publishers and literary agents.
  30. Asking if your manuscript can win a competition.
  31. Responding to ‘I wasn’t able to take your call because I was ill and out of office’ with ‘You are lying’.
  32. Saying ‘This book has been greatly appreciated by the target readership. My wife and daughter really liked it.’
  33. Telling them how your manuscript could not be auctioned off at the London Book Fair because it was under consideration with them.
  34. Having your father’s minions harangue them day in and out saying ‘I’ll be fired if you don’t say yes’.