Category : Publishing

  • December 17, 2007

    Questions about Publishing


    Fiona wrote to ask, "What happens when you have a good proposal, a finished manuscript that people want to read, and you know the market — but you can’t get anyone in the publishing industry to read the darn thing? Do you self-publish? This is an exhausting process, I must say."

    My dear, welcome to the world of publishing. While I sympathize with your frustration over creating something you think is good but not having the connections to get it read, you should know that’s a fairly common problem. You need to seek publishing relationships. Go to a writing conference and show your work to editors. Introduce yourself to agents. Enter some contests. Be part of a critique group to make connections. Become friends with other writers and begin to get plugged in to the industry.

    Of course,  if no one is willing to seriously review your work, the possibility exists that you’re being a bit too generous in your self-praise. I’ll admit I could be wrong here, but I’ve often had wannabe authors say to me something like, "Everybody on the planet has reviewed this and told me it was awful, but I’m sure I’m a genius…maybe I should self-publish." Just something to consider. I’ve covered self-publishing in other posts, but my basic argument is that you should only self-pub if you know exactly how you’re going to market and sell your own work.

    As for this being an exhausting process, I’d submit that it is…but that it’s no more exhausting than making a living at any other art form. If you put together a band and write some songs, you may think your work is brilliant — but you’ve got to go play some gigs at local pubs, meet producers, and get some experience under your belt before you can expect to sign that record deal. You may think your paintings are genius, but you’ve got to sell

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