I’m a nice person, really.

January 31, 2011


Then, why, oh WHY would I submit such a vile first paragraph into a contest by former literary agent and well-known nice guy, Nathan Bransford?

I thought it was funny. I wrote it in ten minutes last year after the contest ended. I read it to my friends and they laughed.

So this year, when stumbled on the contest, I searched through my computer and sent it.

I must say it looks a bit ridiculous next to the other serious entries. (And yes, I know it is more than one paragraph.)

It does amaze me, that out of all of the other people out there in the world treading up hill in the publishing industry, and after 1,500 entries, no one else thought to write a similar story.

No profession is perfect. Believe me, I worked in child care. Do you know how much shame I felt, the embarrassment when every 60 minute expose was about neglect and child abuse? Of course I was not one of those teachers, but there were some ugly realities in my industry.

Just like in publishing.

But in the publishing industry, we all have to be polite about it. We can’t upset the decision makers.

Every profession needs to be exposed a little. Tip toeing around everyone in the industry, is insincere.

After years of rejections from people half my age for an educational idea in a subject they are not drawn too, I admit to being just a little frustrated, jaded. Submissions alone for this contest were over 1,500. It is a little glimpse of the odds facing anyone trying to enter the industry.

Please believe me, I am nice, mostly, really, I can submit photographic evidence of myself working in orphanages in Sri Lanka and reading to children in Africa. I’m only human and can’t even mother Teresa get a little miffed once in a while?

I probably had the courage to submit this paragraph (this little rock bouncing off a brick wall) because I am one of the few who have had the resources and energy to go another route. I have since self published. It makes me a bit of money, but mostly it gets an entirely different way of learning math out into the world. I still hope that perhaps Scholastic will give me a ring, but until then I’m having fun and being nice, mostly.

As I re-read the entry, first I notice the glaring typos,(I was in a hurry)  then i noticed the level of bitterness. I am truly sorry if it was ungracious and twisted. Honestly, it was much funnier a year ago…..


Brittany slithers into the office, late, the smell of last night’s cigarettes emanating from her hair.

Another day at work, proof to her father that she is “contributing to society”. The validation he needs to continue subsidizing her trust fund. Who could really live on an editorial assistant’s salary anyway? She sighs and takes the first envelope off of the slush pile. It smells like lavender. She quickly tosses it into the recycling. Lavender reminds her of the stale potpourri on last nights toilet where she expelled her last apple Martini.

Next. The envelope is covered with stickers. She hates stickers. “Are stickers recyclable?” she wonders, but she doesn’t really care, it follows into the bin. The next envelope is plain and professionally addressed to her boss, she is obliged to open it. She reads the first two sentences, it’s not her thing. Everyone should know a wombat tried to bite her on a trip to the Sydney Zoo when she was ten. It is a bad animal choice. Form rejection.

The next query is from Barbara, a kindergarten teacher for 24 years. “Why does every former teacher named Barbara think they know how to write a children’s book?” she asks out loud.

They can’t, but I can, the intern assures herself as she takes her own proposal (with a pseudonym of course) from her Louis Vuitton bag and slips it into her boss’s pile for review.


One Response to “I’m a nice person, really.”

  1. Marina DelVecchio Says:

    See, I love this, Kimberly. It’s funny and true. he should laugh aloud, or at least chuckle while reading it. You won in my heart! Thanks for exposing the publishing arena for its fickle subjectiveness.

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