A blog from Tonto Books, featuring musings from the publishing world and some occasional special guest appearances.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

How NOT to approach publishers...

A week or so ago Stu posted some advice on how to approach publishers. Now here's how NOT to do it. We don't make a habit of posting submission emails here on the blog, but after our very polite and quite generous (even if I do say so myself) responses, this emailer's nasty reaction was astonishing... The spelling mistakes are the emailer's own, we've 'bleeped out' the swearing, and we've changed the emailer's name. Let's call him "Gary Blair"...

Dear Publisher,

I know there is a snobbery surrounding poetry, some publishers won't
touch a writer
who is unpublished, some won't read submissions, some demand hard
copy, some look
for structure, theme and reasoned arguments. As I am not "in the
scene" I can only
be honest and hope honesty is good enough..
Please find below a selection of works which I submit in word format
(I figure in
the immediate age of the internet, why not get an immediate rejection?)

Many Thanks

Gary Blair

[There follows an entire collection of poetry, not in 'word format' but pasted into the body of the email, so long that our email program is forced to cut it short]

[We reply]

Hi Gary

Apologies for this "immediate rejection", but it has nothing to do with snobbery, rather the fact that we do not publish poetry at all. Without wishing to patronise, it might be useful to check publishers' websites etc to ascertain the type of material they publish before contacting them. This will save you time and reduce the chances of rejection. Unfortunately your current approach is unlikely to yield
any positive results.

Best of luck

Tonto Press

[A couple of weeks later... Gary sends exactly the same email again]

Dear Publisher,

I know there is a snobbery surrounding poetry...

[We reply]

Hi Gary

We have already responded to this query. We do not publish poetry, therefore please remove us from your mailing list.

Best regards

Tonto Press

[Just weeks later...]

In A Bar At The Edge Of The World

Please find attached below a ten poem collection, as I do not have the
finances to
send a hard copy, be simply scrolling below this message the work is
contained for
your perusal. I appreciate this may not be the normal way of doing
things but who
knows you might actually like it!

Gary Blair

[Cue another very long pasting of poetry that again exceeds our email program's capabilities]

[We reply again]

Dear Gary

We told you last time you sent us poetry that we aren't interested in it. Try finding out this kind of info before just sending to anyone. Our website would have told you this.

There are publishers who are interested in poetry - try the INP website for poetry publisher in the region.

Best of luck.

Tonto Press

[Gary replies...]

Sorry for being a t*sser, it won't happen again! Gary

[But it does...]

Please find pasted below a collection of new poetry works entitled "Empty Sky".

I hope you may find the work to be of sufficent merit to justify further


Gary Blair

[Yes, another huge pasting of poems...]

[We reply again]


We've told you several times to stop bombarding us with your work. We are not interested in it and never will be. Remove us from your list.

Tonto Press

[Gary replies...]

The reason you end up on my mailing list is when I type UK Poetry
Publishers in a
search engine your company crops up. (By the looks of things you do actually
publish poetry)
Trust me I want nothing to do with you set of smug Geordie tw*ts
either, so let's
agree to mutually despise each other and be done.


[We reply]

If you want nothing to do with us - stop emailing us.

We don't publish poetry and have no plans to. It's quite simple. If you despise us for that, then that's your own problem. We tried being civilised to you though you clearly have issues.

Best of luck getting published!

Tonto Press

[Gary replies]

Like I said you end up coming up on poetry publishers in search
engines but I shall
remember in future

[Then Gary sends a postscript]

Oh f*ck off!

[Now what had we done to deserve that?!]

There are lots of things to be learnt from that electronic exchange, all of them blindingly obvious. We fully expect to hear from 'Gary Blair' again, but we hope not to.


[UPDATE: We DID hear from 'Gary Blair' again]

Please reemove me from your blog site

OK, OK I get the message I'm a tw*t, I know I am but can you remove my name from the blog of how not to approach publishers?

In exchange I give you my word that I will never approach your company ever again.

PS I still hate Geordie's so that won't change but if you want to never ever hear from me again please remove any reference to my name on your blog.

PPS My spell checkl was knackered for several weeks so sorry about the mistakes in my written insults!


Gary Blair

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