How NOT to get published

Ah, the joys of not being a publisher any more. When I was, it would have been grossly unprofessional to make fun of this guy. And even so, I’ll leave out the identifying features to spare his blushes, though I doubt he’s capable of any.

First, some background: I was getting tired of prospective artists sending me their URLs and asking me to check out their pages. I only had one phone line (no broadband back then, children) and graphics-intensive web sites were an expensive pain. If artists wanted me to look at their portfolio, I wanted hard copy. Hence, on the submissions guidelines page, I included the following:

“Artists: please don’t send us the URL of your gallery with an invitation to “check it out”. We have better things to do than browse the web. Send hard copy.”

This drew the following from a prospective author. To get the full impact you have to imagine it as it appeared, in a dark blue handwriting font on a light blue background. And the lack of paragraph breaks is entirely sic:

Why would you have more time to browse the hard copy of someone’s “gallery” than just looking at it on the web? That makes no sense at all and is simply quite absurd! Anyway, I’m the author of the futuristic sci- fi novel [omitted] and have sold 1,938 copies already of just the manuscript as a self-publisher, but would still like to have the book published so even more people can read it and so movie producers will be willing to look at it for its motion picture production. If you’re interested, I suggest you begin consideration by going to my web site whose URL and hyperlink are in the automated signature of this e-mail below. Simply e-mail me from any e-mail link thereupon if you’d like a copy of the manuscript for your perusal. I say that despite your statement, which I copied and pasted above at the beginning of this e-mail, that you’d prefer to browse the hard-copy of an author’s “gallery” instead of just looking at it on the web. The whole purpose of the web is for convenience of all parties concerned: authors and publishers in this case. But, if you don’t want to look at an author’s web site, which they’ve spent a lot of time designing and getting up on the web and maintaining, well then, I don’t think we can use you as our publisher! Sorry ’bout that, but we have our guidelines just like agents and publishers do and if they don’t match, well, you don’t get to publish our book, but we shall continue to! That’s called a win / lose situation where you lose in this case because you make no money from my book if you choose not to publish it, but we still win anyway in that case by continuing to self-publish it and by continuing to make money from those proceeds. But, stranger things have happened to me in my life, so I’m going to give you a chance despite your unfriendly prerequisites for consideration of an author’s work(s). Oh, one more thing: we don’t send out sample chapters of my book(s) any longer since I’ve finally sold so many copies of [omitted] already and have obtained only positive reviews of it. If an agent and/or publisher wants to peruse my work, then they should read the whole book, not just the first two chapters. But, if they’re not interested in reading the whole book, then we’re not interested in them as a potential publisher either! Finally, our guidelines, including the above-mentioned ones, are non-negotiable and they take precedence over any and all guidelines of potential agents and/or publishers. Self-publishing and selling self-published works via web sites on the World Wide Web which you don’t like browsing… is wonderful!!!

Have a nice day! ;<)

You’ll notice I didn’t say anything at all about an author’s gallery, just an artist’s. But anyway.

It was Christmas and I was in a good mood. I wasn’t sure if this guy was serious or not but decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. I sent back a reply at what I hoped was the right level of jocularity. Only apparently it wasn’t …

In an e-mail, dumb-ass Ben Jeapes wrote:


“…or take the computer on the bus, in the bath, or to bed”


…yea, it’s called a lap-top, dodo!

“…In dealing with publishers, sorry, you’re going to have to bend to their way of doing it…”

Nope: Extract of policy statement from [omitted] Enterprises: “…should the policies, standards, guidelines or any other operating procedures of any person, company or corporation wishing to do business with [omitted] Enterprises conflict with the policies, standards, guidelines and/or any other operating procedures of [omitted] Enterprises, then the policies, standards, guidelines and/or any other operating procedures of [omitted] Enterprises shall take precedence over any such conflicting policies, standards, guidelines and/or any other operating procedures of those two parties without exception.

Furthermore, jerk, no one’s asking you to look at an electronic submission, only their web site to find out if you want to look at a hard-copy submission… AFTER THAT, which, in your case concerning my book, you’d have to buy like anyone else cuz I don’t let wanna-be publishers like you have a copy of my book for free !!!

“…Bear in mind the maxim of my hero Oliver Cromwell — consider that you might be wrong…”

I agree: you’re wrong!

In fact, you’re obviously in the wrong biz; I suggest the law for you in which to dabble next, Mr. wet-behind-the-ears Dilettante, as you like to argue for no apparent purpose except to waste your time writing e-mails instead of looking at web sites which feature authors’ books!

PS We can’t use ya’, sorry… Finally, take note: this is a rejection of you & your puny service which needs to be overtly stated to some one as dense as you… Got it? GOOD!

Sincerely, [omitted]

And that, boys and girls, is how not to get published.