Saturday, July 02, 2005

Publishing Advice

JIm Butcher provides this axiom and it's a good one:
Here's the secret of how to get published: keep going.

There is an enormous weedout factor for wannabe writers. The good news is that you aren't competing with every published schmoe out there. You're only up against the rest of the wannabes, and it's like the old axiom about being chased by a grizzly bear. You don't have to run faster than the bear to get away. You just have to run faster than the guy next to you.

Keep trying when the guy next to you quits in disgust. Keep writing when the girl next to you sobs and throws her manuscripts into the fire. Keep conducting yourself like a professional, and you'll get someone to believe that you are one.

If you're lucky, maybe even yourself.


Blogger Peter L. Winkler said...

Nope. You're also up against all the writers who have already had one or more books published. Magazine editors and book publishers would rather work with writers who have already proevn themselves. I've read that a significant proportion of people who sell a book proposal never finsh it. Publishers feel comfortable with writers who've already proven they can go the distance.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

I'm sorry Peter but this guy's done it. Now to be fair I had the same thing happen to me: A Ph.D who saw my work had an agent and sold his book on the same subject. It's insidious. The deal is this: my proposals are for books that I've already written. I implore you to try harder, Peter. Try harder.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Peter L. Winkler said...


Thanks for the encouragement to try harder. Boy, I've tried. Right now I don't have a book proposal so it's a moot point. On my last proposal, I probably submitted to about 30+ agents and editors combined. I couldn't get an agent this time around. I had two agents before. Neither did me any good. I didn't let the agent problem stop me. I went straight to editors. Got about six of them to read the proposal. Didn't get an offer. That proposal's dead.

7:22 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

It's a tough gig for sure, but as I've said mine are complete. The work is done and I get requests. It may have to do with the subject matter. Mine's heading straight into anti-Bush country. This angle works both ways.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

What's your book about Peter?

3:37 PM  
Blogger Peter L. Winkler said...

"What's your book about Peter?"

Past tense. What would it have been about, had an editor made me an offer?
James Dean. I proposed a popular reference book about Dean's life, career and just about everything else Dean-related: all the books, movies, documentaries, and novels about Dean.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

I see. Tough area, and atypical to publishing: compilation of published works.

7:48 PM  

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