The unanswered submission – a disturbing trend

question, questions, man

The unanswered submission

I was going to write a blog on this annoying subject, when I came across a brilliant analysis of the reasons for what it calls THE SILENT PASS, among the excellent blogs from INDUSTRIAL SCRIPTS. 

Read it and weep here.

The development side of the industry is bloated. There is too much in development. And the bar has been raised year on year. What was good enough a few years ago is no longer good enough. That is not, of course, an acceptable reason for not replying to submissions. Mea culpa, I have also been very slow at times. Sometimes emails just get missed (if you get and send about 100 a day this is not difficult). So I never mind being chased.

Writers should always read the submission guidelines on agency websites. Someone who submits a novel to me clearly has not read our website guidance. I no longer sell to publishers; keeping up with the ever-changing world of film and television is a full-time job.

Producers and broadcasters prioritise people who have done it before. Up to a point so do agents. I will read a page of nearly everything (if the description tells me it is not something I want to consider then I may not). But it does happen that the opening page is magic, then page 2 and 3 and 4 grab me. I may still not be interested in the genre or subject, but it is really writing ability that we are all looking for, and it is rare. My mother (who was a writer and editor) used to say it is about choosing one word to follow the one before it.

So how does a new writer break in? With difficulty.

You need careful and robust strategies; you need to pick the right subjects to write about (right for both you and the market, the buyers). If you can write powerful idiosyncratic drama that really grabs the audience and doesn’t necessarily fit into any genre pigeon-hole, then go for it as long as it really does grab the audience.

But without a strategy, will it get read or will you get a silent pass?

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