Recently, certain bloggers have been writing about factors that could cause an author’s writing to be rejected by publishers or agents, although these factors shouldn’t really count at all. Catdownunder wrote about age and location after being told by a publisher that her age and location would prevent her from ever being published. Nicola Morgan wrote a very sensible response to that, in which she said that while the publisher was not correct, age and unavailability could make publication harder. Both of these posts attracted many comments, most of which disagreed vehemently with the publisher, while some cautiously mentioned that, actually, there was a little truth in what he said. Then Catherine Hughes discussed a comment on another blog that asserted that “disabled people are – to an employer (a publisher, in fact) at least – a potential embarrassment, and should stand aside and allow those capable of doing all aspects of a job without difficulty to go ahead and do so.”
Since certain similar factors apply to me, and I have no wish to hide them, I decided to address them in an open letter to anyone who is wondering whether I’m worth publishing. The letter follows. At a later stage, I might post it on a separate page of this blog.
Dear Publisher, Agent and anyone else who’s interested,
There are many reasons why I am a good person to work with:
- I know I’m not perfect and neither is my writing. I know there’s always room for improvement, and so I would be happy to work with anyone to improve it.
- My time is no longer occupied by small children and I am prepared to spend a lot of time creating the best book I can.
- My experience as a technical writer has taught me the skills of gathering, organising and presenting information in a clear and logical manner.
- My command of grammar is excellent (so I’ve been told). When I break the rules, I do it intentionally and not out of ignorance.
Just in case you think there are any factors that might weigh against me in my quest to be published, I want to put your mind at rest by discussing each of the possibilities:
- Age. It’s hard for me to believe it, but it seems I’m 57. I don’t have any aches or pains and feel no different from the way I felt at 20 – physically. Mentally, I feel much better. It’s taken me this long to understand some of the complexities of life, enabling me to write what I would never have dared to write earlier. Oh, and my mother is 98.
- Location. I don’t live in the country where I hope to be published. But I have family and friends there and often visit it. I’m also active online, where location is irrelevant.
- Social anxiety. As I’ve said many times on this blog, social anxiety isn’t shyness – not in my case, anyway. I’ve never shied away from attending events, and I actually enjoy giving presentations. If I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t be able to write about it from the perspective of someone who has it.
Now that I’ve clarified those points, and if you like my writing, I hope we can talk, meet, sign and work together.