ADVISE TO THE LOVELORN WRITER
A wise poet once said, "If thou
readest, thou art lorn! Better hadst thou neíer
been born" (Scott).
So, with that said, letís get to the quick
of it. The point of this monthís article is
that most people who pay to get published are
in reality dealing with a "Vanity Publisher".
By this I mean, if at any time you have paid
a publisher more money than they have sent you,
you are dealing with a vanity publisher. When
a writer pays the publisher more than the publisher
pays the writer, the writer is said to be subsidizing
the publisherís bottom line. Thusly, that publisher
is a subsidy publisher. Legally, a subsidy publisher
is a vanity publisher and, in using a subsidy
publisher you are actually self-publishing.
This can be a terrific way to publish a book
that has a limited audience. For example: a
major Hollywood producer would not make a movie
out of your grandmotherís old photograph album,
simply because it would have a very limited
The object in point is that if you wish to
reach a wide audience, donít pay to get published.
But, what if when you try to get an agent or
try to find a commercial publisher, and are
turned down? Also, what if you query a hundred
of these agents and publishers and none of them
wants your book? Should you self-publish (subsidy
No, just open up the top drawer of your writing
desk and put the book in it and write another
book. The laws of probability say that you wonít
like the second book as well as the first.
You will still yearn to have that first book
published because youíre still inspired by the
power of the words that you set into its story
plot. This desire will cause you to feel "lorn"
(forsaken). To quote Dickens: "I am a lone lorn
Ha, ye writer, just write another book!
If you are truly a writer, you will do this
as many times as it takes. And by the time you
finally get published, you wonít want anyone
to read that first book.
Compare the time spent to get your first book
published to your four years of high school.
You entered a young novice and graduated more
mature in body and mind.
Upon failure to get published the second time,
it becomes time to go back to school. By this
I mean, do your research and start by learning
about agents, submissions, publishing houses,
the publishing industry, et cetera.
The publishing industry is not a simple business;
even professionals have a problem understanding
it. Writers who generally write about the publishing
industry are usually ones who have failed at
getting published but think they have entered
its "secret world", and they want to
enlighten novice writers by selling them a book
about its mystic world.
Before you buy a book from someone who has
"shown the light" into this secret world of
getting published, just find out if theyíve
been published in their chosen field. Iíll bet
you a dollar to a doughnut, they havenít.
In essence, bad advice can cost a writer an
inordinate amount of time, effort and money.
So, in closing let me say, "Keep writing",
and with time and a whole lot of guts all will
be as it should.
Now, go softly into
the night. mgf
Comments are always welcome.
Email them to
- Attn: Michael, Behind
P.S. One road to obtaining an agent is magazine short stories.
Writing and getting them published will get you creditability and
a list of credentials. It doesnít pay very much, but it will reward
you the sweet pride of getting published.