Friday, October 19, 2012

Professional Ethics

      I find myself once again without a publisher, which is and isn't the reason for this blog. The fact that I've left a publisher has no life altering consequences for me, it's enough to say I left. But this was the action which led me to the desire to write the following.
      Most folks who write are unable to find a home for their work no matter how well written  their short stories, poetry or book may be. There are also times when authors  feel it best to sever a relationship with a publisher for one reason or another...especially when their working relationship has become disagreeable. When a published author reaches that point, it really doesn't matter if you've got a bunch of published books or are at a loss to find a home for your first work. The truth of the beast is you're right back where you started from when you wrote the end for the first book.
       Any unpublished and every published author will tell you exactly how daunting a task finding an agent or publisher can be. I believe it would be almost impossible to understate the difficulties you face as you go through the process of submitting queries in an effort to convince folks to even look at your work. I had no idea where to even start when I began the search for a home for my first book. I now find I'm in different circumstances and face the same problems I had the first time. This leads me to the very reason I'm writing this.
      When my wife "suggested" I get the first book published....I of course agreed with her. I may be old, at times forget five minutes ago and need my naps....but I'm not a suicidal fool. When I parted company with the publisher I was with, she suggested I contact two of the agents who have e-mailed me from time to time in the last year....I had and have reservations.  
       Aside from the fact I felt their actions at the time were unethical, I firmly have the conviction that to deal with them now would be much the same as swimming in a cesspool. So I am at ground zero and left with the choices of ; finding a new hobby, doing some part time work in forensics or play with this writing thing some more. It really doesn't matter which choice I make, they all have a few problems and one has two dangers.
      We'll start with the dangerous one first. If (and I would like too) I secured my stack and started doing only one or two cases a month...or week...or maybe a day there is the weapons problem to consider.
     My wife had and has forbidden me to work case work for anyone on threat of  death...that's the first danger. When you consider the number of weapons in the house....the fact she's a better shot with a pistol than I am...well that becomes a very unattractive hobby.
       Having another MGB-GT would be a great hobby or I know where there is a beast of a 68 goat with all the right things to enhance it's performance. She who should not be named has stated fine...the Can-Am must go. I suggest both...she suggested a trip to the pistol range for target practice. So you can clearly understand that one was also out of the picture, I have no desire to be part of her "sight picture".
      I've (her threats have in no way influenced me) have decided to find another publisher or maybe an agent this time, it has it's problems....but doesn't have the danger factor. This led me to go back to my files to see just who I'd tried to entice to look at my work the first time. Of the files I'd kept, one jumped out as a starting point. One of the few agents who even took the time to not only reject my first book...but also offer reasons and advice.
     I e-mailed Mr Andy Scheer looking for information.....and once again advice. I had noted in my files from the first time I'd queried him, his advice had been to seek an agent or publisher who preferred the genre your work fits. Anyone who has dealt with the search for a new home can understand just how impressive his actions were. 
     Knowing that what I have to offer is not the type of work he prefers, I felt fairly safe asking him a few questions. Once again I found this professional to be as generous with the little spare time he must have as his success shows his expertise must be.
     Why is it that there are so few men and women in literary agencies and publishing who won't take a few seconds to respond to someone they'll not be making money with? Why is it that there are so few people in this industry who won't take the time to offer encouragement, advice or even a kind word? Those are questions I don't have answers for or would even care to hazard a guess as to what those reasons may be.
     Every author seeking a home can tell you from their research, that the most common explanation from most web sites for these folks will state the answer is the high volume of queries revived daily. They all claim to be overworked and more than a few will state that no response is to be considered a rejection. 
     Perhaps a better question would be, "Why aren't there more folks like Mr. Scheer working in this field?"  There are a lot of people who say all the right things...but there seems to be damn few who actually do what they say. 

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