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  1. #1
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    Criticism in the publishing industry

    I've heard that agents and editors criticize harshly to authors and sometimes make them rewrite their work. One time, I submitted my older book to a small publishing house, and they said things about that offended me. I even told them that I didn't like that and my feelings got hurt, but then they accused my of "whining" and got mad. That was when I discovered that people in the publishing industry aren't really what you'd call "kid-friendly" or even "teen-friendly." On some other writing forums, people had said things to me that sounded insensitive. One of them said directly to me that may story was horrible. It left a bad impression on me and later, I came up with a topic of what they would do if their kid said something like that to another kid and that they'd get into big trouble for that.
    This is not about my publishing future. I'm still not ready yet. But I am just curious why agents, publishers and editors can be insensitive and say things that wouldn't have been acceptable when they were kids. I've never seen a parent do nothing after their kid said an insensitive remark to another kid.



  2. #2
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    agents and publishers come in all varieties, just as authors do. Some agents and publishers are brusk and a few are even nasty. And some authors become imperial and "it's all about me" quite fast, often for no reason connected to their sales or the quality of their work. Some prospective authors remain obtuse no matter what their age is, and some agents and publishers didn't sign up to be babysitters. The trick is to find a good agent/publisher-author fit.
    Last edited by Gary Kessler; 02-13-2012 at 10:06 AM.

  3. #3
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    Remember, it's not about you--it's about your novel. Your novel is a product. Too many people look at their work as their "baby," which is a huge mistake. It's a tough business for someone whose feelings are hurt by criticism. It's a tough business even for those who can take it.

  4. #4
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    I agree with Jena. You have to remember this is a business for agents and publishers. It's not a hobby, nor do they treat you like you are in school. When you compete in the adult world, you will be treated like an adult. That includes criticism and feedback. When you submit your work to an agent, an editor, or a publisher, you are asking them to invest their time and money in your intellectual product. At that point, everything is about the business: What makes this product marketable? What should be done to improve the quality/marketability of this product?

    Most agents and publishers will take into consideration the author's input on changes, but you still need to respond in a professional manner, recognizing that this isn't personal. It isn't about you at all. It's about the writing and what is best for the book or story.

    Hope that helps a little. Unfortunately, you have touched upon a sore point for me, as I see too many children told who are encouraged to enter into the adult world before they're ready. Just because a young person is very talented doesn't mean he or she should be out there in the trenches, competing with adults who are more experienced and more ruthless. Sometimes it's better to give yourself time to mature.

    Just my thoughts...

    Jeanne Gassman

  5. #5
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    Good point. Could that be another reason why they're aren't a lot of teenage authors? They aren't mature enough to accept constructive criticism, even if they wrote a picture book for pre-schoolers. I just recently thought that many teens prefer to write novels than picture books while their isn't mature enough to be published. I also thought that it may be easier for them to write picture books. I saw a clip of a 13-year-old boy, being interviewed about his picture book, published by a publishing house.
    Sorry if I sound like I'm going off topic. I wanted to make a reference. Thanks for the explanation.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    I'm not trying to hurt your feelings, Sunayna, but you've worried and complained about getting your feelings hurt ever since you first started posting. If you can't take the criticism offered (and, as I remember, you didn't take the suggestions we gave you very well, either), you either need to consider publishing your manuscripts as ebooks, cutting out the agents and publishers, or consider a different career path. If all these people are telling you the same things we've told you, and the only thing you're getting from all of this is that your feelings got hurt or how offended you were, or that people are telling you that you're whining. . .there comes a point when you have to realize that all these people can't be wrong and only you are right.

    You're way ahead of yourself right now. You're not ready to deal with an industry that expects, no - demands, you to be mature and act professionally. If you were mature, you would be able to take away some very important and helpful advice from what you've been told. But all you seem to get is that people don't appreciate your attitude. You're trying too hard to figure out what other teens are doing or should be doing. Don't. You're not them and they're not you.

    For right now, I would just concentrate on writing and nothing else. When you're mature enough to handle the adult world of agents and publishers, then send your stories to them, but not before you can handle whatever criticisms and critiques you'll receive. I'm really not being harsh, nor am I trying to be mean to you. But you have to listen without letting your pride or your easily trampled feelings get in the way. Because, no matter how great a book anyone can write, no one will want to deal with them if they can't be mature and professional.
    Last edited by Lea Zalas; 02-13-2012 at 03:05 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member C Bets's Avatar
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    That just about sums it up, Sunayna.

    I realize you have great intentions and you probably have an incredible potential to produce fun and interesting things for all to see one day, but right now I can't see you having the confidence or fortitude to be able to handle the business at this stage.

    Stop. Continue to write, educate yourself and improve. Don't get ahead of yourself. You'll know when you're ready.
    Cindy

    And be at peace... the universe is unfolding as it should

  8. #8
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    @Lea Zalas I actually said at the start of this topic that I wasn't ready to publish. I was only curious about why agents and editors criticize harshly. It really didn't have anything to do with me. Those past experiences happened before I joined this site.
    Your explanation is very useful. Yes, I will put off publishing with agents and publishers until I am mature enough to handle it. I'm onto my eighth middle grade novel, which I am reading. I've still got a lot more to read.

  9. #9
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    But I am just curious why agents, publishers and editors can be insensitive and say things that wouldn't have been acceptable when they were kids. I've never seen a parent do nothing after their kid said an insensitive remark to another kid.

    Am I the only one wondering if school just isn't preparing kids for the real world anymore? Didn't you say you were graduating soon/recently, Sunayna?

  10. #10
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    I already graduated from high school in June. I'm in college now. Even here, insensitive remarks aren't tolerated.

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