Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Teresa Nielsen Hayden, excellent teacher as well as editor for Tor Books, has more good advice for writers:

Certain words and phrases are like little genetic markers for scammers. Here’s a non-exhaustive list, non-exhaustively explained:

1. “Giving new writers a chance.” Also: “Helping new writers.”

While agents and publishers frequently do just this thing, they don’t talk about it in those terms. For them, it’s always a specific new book, a specific new author. Making judgements about which book and which writer they’re going to work with is the heart of their job. When you hear someone talking in an indiscriminately general fashion about giving a chance to new writers, there’s something wrong.

Same goes for “helping new writers.” There might be legitimate projects aimed at helping new writers as a class, but the business they’re in isn’t agenting or publishing.

2. “Traditional publishing.”

This term came in with PublishAmerica. It’s their little way of suggesting that they’re a conventional publishing house, which they aren’t. Publishing houses refer to what they do as “publishing.”

Read the whole thing.


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