Daily Archives: November 4, 2005

Perpetuating the publishing fallacy

I stumbled on a website (literally, with stumbleupon – beware, it’s addictive) that just made me crazy. Here’s some of the drivel it spouts:

If you’ve never truly considered writing a book, take another look at the rubbish filling bookshelves at airport kiosks. The ‘authors’ of that stuff are laughing all the way to the bank. While English majors and real literary types are screaming at each other in the stuffy halls of academia or the pages of The New Yorker, these clowns are quietly rehashing tired plots and making millions for it. You’re a smart person, so we see no reason you shouldn’t take a crack at making bank as well. (Heck, even if you’re a ding-bat, we think you should give it a try. Al Gore’s books sold millions.)

Excuse me? Writing crap=money? Who’s the idiot writing this, perpetuating mediocrity and the belief that anyone can take a pen and start writing, and make money at it? Doesn’t matter that you can’t write, or string two sentences together. You think you’re smart, so you can write. Worse, it perpetuates the myth that, if you have an idea and write it down, agents and publishers will beat the bushes and each other to take you on.

Sorry, honey, but that’s not what reality is out there. It’s a tough business and, even if you have a well-written story with a dynamite idea, the chances of being published, let alone finding an agent to represent you, are slim to none.

More than 500,000 manuscripts from wannabe writers make it to the desks of assistant editors in the publishing houses a year. Not even a tenth of a percent are published, and that’s fiction alone. That’s the reason businesses like iUniverse and lulu are making a mint, these days. If you want to see your name in print, you have to self-publish.

Even most of the ebook publishers are now closed for submission. The number of people who want to be published exceeds the number of markets.

Idiots comments like the ones above are the reason agents and publishers are so swamped that us legitimate writers -those who feel it’s necessary to work at your craft (craft, see? not business)- can’t get through. I was lucky, Zumaya took me on before they closed their doors for manuscript submission. I feel sorry for all those serious writers who have to compete with people who believe the crap that all you have to do is find and idea and think you’re smart.

And, BTW, if you buy into that, it does make you a clown.

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