Thursday, September 29, 2011

10 Reasons You Won't Get Published

Writing is a tough business. Today, I present 10 Reasons You Won't Get Published.

That's right. Pack it up.


1. You're nobody. Let's face it. You're nobody. You blog, you tweet, you have a few followers, but not nearly enough to sustain a writing career or sell any books. You have no name recognition and Average Joe and Susie Book Buyer have no idea who you are. Because of this, you'll never get published.

2. The market is too competitive. There seems to be an infinite number of choices out in the marketplace. Every story you could write has already been written (and it's been written better by someone with name recognition). Thanks to this glut of content, no one wants your book, because it will sit on the shelf (virtual and physical), unknown, unloved, and unsold.

3. Your writing won't get any better no matter how hard you work. You started with a short story. Then you wrote another one. Then another. You moved on to a novel. Then you wrote another. Now you have several short stories and novels, but the quality hasn't improved. You've reached a plateau. You can write for five more years, and you'll still be the same hack you were when you started.

4. You can't get an agent and never will. You keep sending out queries, but no one's interested. You've emailed 100 different agents. Obviously, it's time to stop.

5. You're incapable of meeting the "right" people. You work a day job that keeps you in the office during the bulk of the day. You work second shift, maybe third shift. You don't have time to network, and if you did, you wouldn't be able to meet anyone remotely interested in your writing. Forget about Twitter and Facebook; they can't help you.

6. The next submission will be a rejection. And so on. Once rejected, always rejected. If you send out 50 submissions, you may as well call them 50 rejections. It's automatic, rubber-stamped. You have no chance.

7. You've given it enough time and nothing has happened. Nothing ever will. You've been at it for a year. Two years. Five. Ten. Nothing's happened. Oh, some obscure place published one of your short stories, but that's about it. That novel you've been polishing for the last five years? The one that's been to beta readers and changed a lot since the original draft? Just shelve it now. Don't write another. Just stop.

8. You write in a genre no one wants to read. Yeah, everybody has a vampire book. Everybody has a crime thriller. Everybody has a space opera. No one cares, and those are established genres. You think someone wants your superhero novel? Your surreal, existentialist talking plant story? Dream. On.

9. Your critique group can't help you. These are people just like you. They like to read; they like to write. Like you, they're dreaming the big dream, hoping, praying someone will notice their work. See reason #1.

10. You Believe Anything (or Everything) Written in this Post. The preceding nine "truths" are balderdash. You can rise above any of these issues with hard work, dedication, and a support system of peers and fellow writers. Writing isn't easy and getting published is challenging. However, those who persist will taste success, provided they keep at it, grow a thick skin, and have confidence in their work.

Yeah, I know. It's a little "rah-rah, go team!"

Sometimes, we need a little of that.

Sometimes, we need a lot of it.