I would like to tell you about a most enjoyable day. Our agency’s guidelines request that unsolicited manuscripts come via the post (I know it’s old-school but it works for us), but we still receive e-mail submissions. I spent an entire morning going through that particular in-box, having an assistant send standard e-mail rejection letters, since none were anything our agency could/would handle.
Very soon I received three separate responses:
1) Criticized me for sending an impersonal note, saying they spent considerable time with the proposal and the least I could do was give a corresponding critique. Never mind that the writer failed to follow the guidelines on the site he claimed to have read.
2) Wrote me to say “I consider it a disgrace that any American would ignore this story, particularly a man with access to our Christian media outlets who calls himself my ‘brother in the Lord.’ You must not be a prayer warrior, Mr. Laube, because if you were, He’d have guided you as He has me in this decision. Therefore, I wouldn’t want you handling this book.”
3) Wrote a one word, very personal, very vulgar, adjective in reply to our rejection letter.
All in one afternoon….So you see, even on the agent end of the business we also deal with criticism that is ill-founded, ignorant, and inappropriate.
Next time a critic gives you a negative book review or an editor sends you a sixteen page, single-spaced, scourging of your manuscript…remember that everyone is entitled to their opinion. Your response will determine much about your success as a writer. One of our clients claims that the one thing a writer needs to develop, in order to survive this profession, is a thick skin.
How do you respond to critics?