Monday, May 08, 2006

Who Says Publishing Is Fair?

So, once you have your mansucript done, revised, proofed, ready for publication... what do you do?

You send away your manuscript to a Big Publisher, and think it will succeed or fail on its own merits.


Getting published by a large publisher, unless your name is already well-known, is a completely randomized process. Michael Allen reveals how manuscripts are REALLY selected (or not), in his tell-all book On the Survival of Rats in the Slush Pile.

It's recommended reading for writers. Honestly, I didn't think the state of Big Corporate Publishing was THIS bad -- until I read Allen's book. I learned several useful lessons:

1. "Nobody knows anything." Modern Big Publishing is a complete lottery, and the odds are stacked against writers.

2. The best way to keep a cool head is to write what YOU enjoy writing, and not write for money/fame. (Or write for your friends and family.)

3. Ignore Big Publishers. No, really. S****'em. Find a small publisher that's willing to publish your work at a low cost (read: low financial risk) and nurture your talent over time.

(If, against near-impossible odds, you SHOULD get a deal with a Big Publisher, you are s****d. Because the Big Publisher will give you one chance to sell humongously well with your first published novel... and if you don't, they'll toss you aside like a used Kleenex. You don't get to hear about this a lot, because people tend to ignore all the writers who bombed, and focus on the spectacular successes.)

Monday, May 01, 2006

John Scalzi Gives Advice To Teenage Writers

As you may have heard, a teenage writer by the name Christopher Paolini has had huge success with his ERAGON book series. This sort of thing doesn't happen often.

Teenage prodigies are still rare in book-writing. Why is that? John Scalzi explains in "10 Things Teenage Writers Should Know About Writing."