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Behind The Fiction, Past
A Fiction Column
By Michael G'Francisco


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 audience.

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 publish) then?

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 creetur."

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 the Fiction.

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.

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