11/6/06

Where to Spend Your $20

I have a writer friend who says he plans to start hiding $20 bills in his manuscripts as a test to see if the editor is really reading it. He's going to note exactly what page he tucked that bill into and if it hasn't moved when the manuscript returns, he will know it wasn't even read. What do you think about that?


He may call it a test, I call it a bribe--and it is a silly idea on so many levels.

1. Ethical editors will not accept money like this. So if he gets his manuscript back with the money removed, all he's done is found someone he shouldn't do business with. If I were to get a submission with a $20 tucked between the pages, it would stay right there exactly as I found it. I'd also stop reading when I found it and reject the manuscript. I refuse to work with someone who a) doesn't trust me; and b) thinks this is appropriate and professional behavior.

2. Most rejected manuscripts DON"T get read all the way through. Many, many times I can tell within the first couple of pages that it's not what I'm looking for. Why would I bother to read any more? I am looking for manuscripts to publish. I am not a free reading service.

3. Assuming I do read all or even most of the manuscript, does your friend think it stays all nice and neat in the box or envelope as I read it? No. I grab a chunk of papers and take it with me--to the doctor, parent-teacher conferences, running errands, etc. A $20 bill could easily fall out without my even noticing it.

4. He better make sure he includes a SASE for the return manuscript. If he doesn't, and I don't read far enough to find the money, the manuscript goes into the trash bin--$20 and all.

5. Has he never heard of things getting lost in the mail? Packages getting damaged and opened?

Tell your friend that his $20 would be far better spent on a subscription to Writers Digest magazine.

5 comments:

Sariah S. Wilson said...

It's my understanding that editors hate little tricks like this - some people turn certain pages upside down, others tie thin hairs in between certain sections to see if it was broken.

Editors are on to these things. They won't think you're clever or amusing. They'll think you're annoying and immediately reject you. As writers, our number one goal should be (after writing a great story) not to make the editors mad. Mad editor = instant rejection.

Write the best manuscript you can. Then the editor will rush through every single page to get to the end, and you'll have saved yourself hundreds of dollars by keeping your $20s.

Anna Maria Junus said...

I guess this guy must be rich. Most of us struggling authors (in my case published as well) can't afford a stunt like this. I need those 20's to feed my children.

Now, if he wants he can send his
manuscript filled with 20$ bills to me. I will do my best to edit it and make suggestions and I'll keep the money as my fee.

biboo said...

biboo here, with more ways those clever writers (the ones whose genius is overlooked by those no-good editors and agents) to free their wallets of those pesky Andrew Jacksons:

*Enter the Sobol Awards competition
*Find one of those "agents" that charges a retainer and a reading fee
*Last I heard, PublishAmerica accepts 20s, but I don't think they can make change for anything smaller than a 10
*Buy yourself an MFA from Owl Correspondence School (let's see who's heard of OCS!)
*Enter one of those poetry contests and when they notify you that your poem is going to be published in their anthology, you'll have the money to buy yourself a copy!

biboo said...

Oh, biboo was bad.

biboo needs a proofreader. biboo omitted the word "for"; thus the first sentence should read:

"biboo here, with more ways for those clever writers (the ones whose genius is overlooked by those no-good editors and agents) to free their wallets of those pesky Andrew Jacksons:"

Perhaps Clever Writer should send some of his $20s this direction so biboo can pay a proofreader. :/

Anonymous said...

Biboo, you're a hoot.