Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I wish

I try to be a realist but sometimes I can't help but wish for certain things, even though I know that my wishing won't make it happen. My Dad had a favorite expression, "Wish in one hand and &%$# in the other and see where you have the most." I lost my Dad in May and I miss him more than words could ever express but I believe that he's here with me now and that he always will be. Dad, try not to laugh too hard when you read this!

I wish, among other things, that all publishers accepted queries from first-time novelists. There, I've written it! The road to publication is a rocky, treacherous one and certainly not for anyone who is easily discouraged and/or can't deal with rejection. I understand that. What bothers me, what I wish for, is that every novel be given an opportunity to be judged on its own merit whether the writer has been published before or not.

It's a vicious circle. It's difficult (some might say, impossible) to get a literary agent to represent you if you haven't been previously published but large publishers will only consider queries from agents. You do the math! It seems that the only hope that we first-time novelists have of ever seeing our books in print is the small publishing companies. Thank God for them!


  1. Small publishing is stepping in to fight the forces (Big Publishing, agents) who only want a few to publish books. Books are expensive, at least the way they have been produced in the past. With new technology and Internet marketing, authors now have more options for publishing. There is no reason a book should sit in the bottom desk drawer anymore.

    HOWEVER, as an acquisitions editor for Oak Tree Press, I face an onslaught of manuscripts daily. We publish 36 titles a year, and that's a stretch with our tight resources. So, I have to look for authors with the most potential for marketing. A book is only so good at its sales.

    I always encourage authors to consider publishing their work on Kindle or some e-book format. The technology is easily available. Amazon is in the process of becoming a publisher. The author only has to split sales with Amazon. Right now, e-books are bringing in more money than trade paperbacks.

  2. As a small-press publisher and a novelist, I know both sides of this problem. Sunny's right that publishing, even small-press publishing, is a business and publishers need to worry about sales. So a first timer must be able to convince a prospective publisher, large or small, that he or she has a knack for sales and promotion. How to do that before your first book is accepted? Network ferociously. Go to conferences. Write fan letters. Join a writers' support group. Cheer for other authors. If you have talent, work hard, and improve your odds this way, you'll make it.

    I've had ten books published, and although I'm confident of my writing, I know I owe my publications to connections I've made. For example: my next book, Behind the Redwood Door, will be published in November by Oak Tree Press--thanks to my getting to know Sunny Frazier. (Thanks again, Sunny!)

    Good luck, Patricia.

  3. John is right about personal contact. Every book I've had published was because I met the editor at a conference. And I'm now on # 13 coming up from The Wild Rose Press. Met Rhonda Penders at the Ozark Creative Writer's Conference in Eureka Springs last October. Keep looking to meet and smooze with publishers and editors and even agents, if you want to go that route.

  4. This highlights what I tell many people. The real value of a writers' conference is networking. I've run a successful writers' conference for twelve yers, and there have been hundreds who come and do not visit with a single person they didn't know before the conference. Go to a conference, and meet every person you can. Networking is job one, as they say.

  5. Very good post. It's tough as a first timer. Even before Internet marketing and eBooks, it was tough. SMall presses have made it a little easier to get published, but the author still needs to work on getting noticed.

  6. Networking, networking, networking...it the talk of all conferences, whether its writing or corrections. The more you get your name out there, the better you can sell yourself

  7. One of the difficult parts of finding that publisher is that writing talent doesn't necessarily make a person good at networking and speaking in public. In fact, they are often very different skills, and the writer who wants a big career needs to develop both of those parts of his/her personality.

    --John Brantingham

  8. It seems like this is true of most of the creative fields. Work isn't as much judged on it's own quality, but more by the experience or previous recognition of who produced it. It's not fair! As an artist/designer, I can relate to this dilemma. However, I also think a lot of creative types who really want it are stubborn enough (especially in our family)-that's a good thing-to keep on doing and promoting the work that matters to us.

  9. Hi Patricia! I lost my Dad fifteen years ago and I still miss him every day. Dads are filled with pithy comments and Dad wisdom.

    I think you are going to go far. Just keep submitting and consider self-publishing some E tomes to generate excitement about your work. You're smart to do an interesting blog. Good on ya!

    I wrote a murder mystery sited in Orlando, Florida in the 80s.
    A real vacation location period piece.

    Marta Chausée, author
    Resort to Murder mystery series

  10. Patricia,

    I am looking forward to seeing your first book published from the things that I've read on this blog.

    You go girl!


  11. Thanks everyone! A special thanks to Sunny Frazier for asking me to be a member of the Posse.