Good mornin’ once again, class.
Ah see by your upturned, shiny little faces that you are gratifyingly
eager for your next dose of admonishment in the Sacred Laws of Fiction
Etiquette, which Ah am, of course, supremely qualified to deliver.
Without further ado, let us—
What are you sayin’, baby doll?
Will we be havin’ a Valentine’s Day party? Mah dear, if you do not know
for a fact that Valentine’s Day is not a holiday your own dear Ms.
Flanders will celebrate with the likes of you, you have not been payin’
attention. Ah have yet to run across a body worthy of receivin’ a
valentine from me, and you are not an exception. Of course, my own
private celebrations are another matter altogether. After endurin’ the
rigors of admonishin’ such pea-brained young’uns as y’all, I need as
much bracin’ liquid refreshment as Ah can get. But as you know full
well, that is none of your business, sweetheart.
As I was sayin’ before Ah was so
rudely interrupted, let us begin with today’s question. The envelope
Dear Ms. Flanders,
I’m a new author, and my first
novel is coming out this fall. According to my publisher, getting
endorsements from multipublished authors will help tremendously with
promotion. But how does a new author go about securing endorsements
when you don’t personally know any famous authors? I belong to a large
writers’ organization to which several published authors belong, but I
am hesitant to approach them without a formal introduction by a mutual
friend. I’ve thought about posting a request for endorsers on the
e-mail loop. Is this acceptable, or would I be violating proper
Mah dear, you are well-advised
to enquire about proper protocol before embarkin’ on a solicitation of
the highest rank of authors. The very last thing you want to do is to
place yourself on the wrong side of those who can make your lifelong
dreams come true . . . or consign you to the outer darkness of the
publishin’ world where there is weepin’ and gnashin’ of teeth. So pay
attention, darlin’, to every jot and tittle of mah instructions if you
wish to succeed.
First and foremost, before you
do anythin’ else, you must ensure that your work stands at the very
pinnacle of perfection. If a bestsellin’ author actually should agree
to take time out of his or her busy schedule, which is unlikely, to do
an unknown like you a favor by readin’ your work, only to discover that
it is sadly marred by defects, they will not only not endorse
your work, but will most likely cut you publicly at your organization’s
next social function. And don’t be tellin’ me that just because you
managed to get a publishin’ contract, your manuscript must be in
perfect condition. Why do you think publishers employ editors, hmmmm?
It is their onerous task to take the raw material that falls from your
brain pan and shape it into a work of outstandin’ beauty and
power—without, of course, allowin’ any panderin’ to the basest emotions
of the human character. Or lack thereof.
Which reminds me of a most
distressin’ situation: With increasin’ frequency Ah am seein’ a
shockin’ number of grammatical and formattin’ sins in the books bein’
published nowadays. Ah am beginnin’ to wonder where in the name of my
Aunt Fanny’s furbelows these new young editors are bein’ educated. Or
not. It’s obvious to me that not only are today’s writers not bein’
properly drilled in grammar, syntax, and logic, but the editors upon
whom our publishers depend to maintain the highest standards of
excellence were undoubtedly noddin’ off in class as well. Let me assure
you that if they had been schooled by your own Ms. Flanders, they would
have been attending to their studies at every instant or they would
have been favored with a smart rap across their fannies with mah ruler.
Because there is such an urgent
need for admonishment in these matters, Ah will be delvin’ into this
subject at more length in our next class. However, for the time bein’,
your best course is to hire a professional editor of the highest
qualifications to bring your work up to snuff, which will also avoid
your fallin’ victim to any unfortunate shortcomin’s of the editor at
your publishin’ house. Once your manuscript is in pristine condition,
do not under any circumstances put forward a solicitation on your
e-mail loop, which is just too vulgah for words and will cause you to
be looked at askance. You are correct in assumin’ that a formal
introduction by mutual friends is in order in this situation. But don’t
be disappointed, darlin’, if no one deigns to take notice of the likes
Now, wasn’t that easy and fun?
Didn’t you learn a passel of vital information? Be sure y’all take it
to heart or Ah will not be held responsible for the unpleasant
Speakin’ of Valentine’s Day, Ah
am off to discover what delightful treat that wicked little cupid has
delivered to mah wine cel—ah, mah basement recreation room. Nevah let
it be said that Ms. Flanders does not know how to celebrate!
are the worst writing mistakes you’ve seen, and how can we avoid them?
April: Is it
proper to attempt to communicate directly with an author if you’re a
is proper etiquette on writers’ e-mail loops?