Thank you again for requesting my full manuscript back when I still thought it might have legs. I wondered if you’d had a chance to read it, and if so, whether you think it’s really bad, or just kind of “not-quite-what-I’m-looking for?” Like, did you laugh out loud, and not in a good way? Or were there moments when you thought, “She could probably fix this thing up!” Or, perhaps, you read it, loved it, sold it to NY, and forgot to notify me?*
Your silence up to this point has been greatly appreciated, since it has allowed me to fantasize rampantly about what an awesome agent you’d be, and how you’d probably know EXACTLY what I should do to sell this pile of wonk to the print publisher I’ve been stubbornly targeting despite a niggling feeling that I should embrace digital publishing …
… but now it’s time to man up. Go ahead, please let me know the exact nature of your objections to this manuscript, produced during more than 200 hours of work and another several hundred hours of alternating self-loathing and irrational self-congratulatory mania.
Seriously. It’s not that I hated this book. It’s just—do you have any idea what my desk looks like? And that’s just the paper manuscripts, which now make up only a tiny fraction of what I see. I’m drowning—no, I mean drowning—in books. And writers. Writers who are sure they’ve written the next great thing. Writers who have written the next great thing, but ten years too late. Writers who have written the next great thing, but ten years too early. (Also writers who have written giant steaming heaps of badness that I am forced to read because I have ill-advisedly promised to do someone a favor of some kind.)
I bear you no ill will, Writer, but you are just the wrong 420 pages at the wrong time. Also, you use the word “proximity” five times in the first ten pages of your book. And I hate the heroine name “Michelle.”
That said, I can see that you are not an outrageously bad writer and that you have a loose grasp of the most important principles of storytelling, so if you do end up writing the right thing at the right time (and I wish I had something to offer you about what and when that is, but I don’t), please do feel free to get back in touch with me—I’d love to see it.
*Full credit to Ruthie Knox for this sentence.