Rejection hurts. Sure. No surprise there. But rejection doesn’t annoy me.
People throwing their cigarette butts on the ground annoy me.
Students who don’t do any work and then insist on moving up to the next level annoy me.
Absurd rules annoy me.
And publishing is filled with absurd rules.
I understand rules of politeness. Spell the agent’s name correctly. I get tired of people spelling my name wrong, and hey, if you want something from someone, take the time to get the name right.
I understand following guidelines and taking time to proof read my work before sending it in. I understand using active voice and point of view. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Here’s a rule I don’t understand–the we don’t accept work that has been published on your blog. Publishing anything on my fiction blog is the equivalent of printing a hard copy of my story out and sharing it with my friends–because near as I can tell only my friends read it. Isn’t that the case with most people? How is having anything on my blog going to hurt their sales? My friends are going to support me anyway. Either they will buy a copy of what I’m printed in to show their support (in which case, increasing sales) or they won’t buy it because they weren’t going to buy it anyway.
So, if I want certain journals to accept my work I have to keep my work to myself until they decide to publish it–which is, as we all know, unlikely.
And if you self-publish your book, they say you can’t submit it to an agent. Damaged goods, so to speak. But then again we can all find examples of self-published worked that did well enough for a traditional publisher to snap up anyway. And it seems that if someone who is established–let’s say, Neil Gaiman (who I love by the way)–asked a literary journal to publish something that he’d posted on his blog, would they turn him down? Sorry, Neil. You posted it on your blog.
If posting something on a blog counts as published, seems to me it ought to count as a publishing credit, which it doesn’t because that would lead to publishing credit chaos.
Why should a journal care about my blog when I can’t even get most of my friends to care?
I understand the many rules of the traditional publications. They have every right to make their rules as they see fit, but sometimes when I’m reading those rules I feel they punish those who seek to express themselves off the traditional pathway.
If you could explain this don’t-publish-on-your-blog rule to me, that would be great.