Why You'll Never Be Published

When browsing through the various titles on Hubpages detailing how to go about getting your manuscript or anthology published, it occurred to me that not anywhere have I found a comprehensive explanation of why you work won’t be published. And for those of us who’ve paid our dues, kept our heads down, followed the rules, and still ask ourselves “why?” when the 256th rejection letter appears in the mail (along with that overdue rent notice), fear not, I’m here to break it down for you.

You may be wondering what my credentials are for me to be telling you all this. You may ask yourself, “Who the hell does this guy think he is? After five years of revision, my script’s perfect! No one in their right mind would reject it!”

My answer is: Yes, you’re right. No one in their right mind would reject it, but publishers and literary agents are rarely in their right minds. Because, while writers are faced with the onerous task of creating works of art that are as beautiful as they are fun to read, publishers and literary agents are in the business of making money. It just so happens that they do so by selling books. In short: You’ve been warned.

But I digress. As a writer of the last four years, I’ve established a collection of rejection letters for short stories and novelettes currently at 600 and counting. As for my attempts to get my first manuscript published over the last two years, I’ve amassed 372 form rejection letters presented on varied and wonderful stationeries that have tragically been rendered worthless thanks to the global scourge of cheap copiers.

I am, I like to think, well versed in not getting published, and would take this opportunity to share my wealth of knowledge with you, dear readers and poor, poor misguided souls.

So, in essence, here is the key reason why you will not get your work published. Or, for those writers who still have some glimmer of hope—God have mercy on your souls—here is why it’s so very hard to break into writing fiction professionally.

Literary Agents

 

Forty years ago, it was quite possible for a writer to get his work published without the representation of a literary agent. He would simply send query letters (for those who don’t know what a query letter is, get out) directly to the publisher. Nowadays, this is not possible. The vast majority of publishers in North America and the United Kingdom do not accept unsolicited submissions from private citizens. Translation: If you don’t already know the editor, you’re SOL.

 

That’s where literary agents come in. Apart from helping to find venues in which you can increase your readership and raise awareness of your name, a literary agent is in the business of knowing all the people worth knowing. Traditionally, they worked in publishing for five to ten years, established contacts, and then decided representing writers was a better way to make a living. The contacts established from those early days are what allow literary agents to pitch a writer’s book directly to the higher-ups with the power to accept or veto the book. In the past thirty years, things have changed again. New literary agents would not work in publishing ever, and instead apprentice under an agent that was already well established, building contacts and shaking hands (very back room conspiracy-ish, isn’t it?) until they either inherited the agency or broke off to form their own.

 

In theory, this seems acceptable, as every writer has an agent who’s looking out for their best interests. But a number of problems make literary agents your worst nightmare.

More Hoops

Because you’ve got to go through an intermediary (the agent), another step in the publication process has been added. This equates to another chance to fall flat on your face. Remember, you don’t hire a literary agent, you send them a query letter and hope they like it enough to consider representing you. So, before you’re even in the lobby of the publisher’s building, you’re having to fight to justify your work. Because literary agents know that they essentially hold the keys to the kingdom, they can afford to be selective. And they are. Many agencies claim that they receive so many query letters annually that they can’t even bother to send out rejection letters or emails. They simply never write back. And since they’re making money hand over fist in any case, once again the unrepresented writer is left to fend for himself.

Many agents require a prospective client to have already published a book before they consider representation, nevermind that representation is what a writer must have before he can publish a book.

More and more restrictions are being set into place because literary agents are in high demand that they can afford to snub people, which leads me to my next point. 

 

Numbers Game

Jim Butcher, the noted author of the Dresden Files as well as other wonderful urban fantasy/mystery novels, once gave an interview I was lucky enough to watch. He broke down the numbers for us. Essentially, only one in 300 wannabe writers will ever get published, be it short stories in a magazine, a play, or even a book. This is taken a step further in that only 1 in 3,000 wannabe writers will make enough money writing for it to be considered a full time job.

So many people want to become writers, and so few are able to. This is only exacerbated by the current plight of the publishing industry, thanks to the internet and online books. Because people no longer need a physical book to be printed, bound, and shipped to bookstores all over the world, the publishing industry is hemorrhaging money. They’ve been circumvented (I’m a bit mixed in feeling about this. I believe they’re getting what they deserve for being so elitist in the first place that writers decided to take their work elsewhere. Nevertheless, having a physical copy of your book, professionally printed and distributed, has a certain mystique which Kindle lacks.) As such, they are extremely reluctant to take on new writers, and only do so in small numbers. And because literary agents are reliant on the publishing industry, they do the same thing.

 

Marketability

 

As publishers are in the business of selling books, it stands to reason they will only choose to publish titles which are extremely marketable. That is, they would appeal to a large demographic. As demographics are in turn determined by random trends, there is little any writer can do about this.

 

I realize this is contrary to the inculcated belief that the quality of your work is what will see it sold. Look at the sales for Twilight and John Grisham’s last book, and you will see two examples disproving this belief completely.

 

In the case of Twilight, it can be safely said that Stephanie Meyer is sorely lacking in narrative style. However, the premises and events that take place in her books hit the tween market—which is extremely impulsive and has access to their entire family’s money—squarely between the eyes. And because some publisher recognized this, they were accepted immediately.

 

John Grisham’s last book, I forget the title as they all seem to be the same, sold because the man has already developed a name for himself. Everybody knows who John Grisham is, so if he randomly banged on a typewriter for 400 pages, it would still be published, and it would still sell.

 

Literary agents must think along the same lines. Well-known writers are a safe gamble for everyone involved. New writers are an unknown quantity. No one ever knows for sure whether their work will be a hit of a flop. As such, in times of economic instability, i.e. now and the foreseeable future, they prefer to stick with those writers that are tried and true.

 

This leads me to the conclusion that getting representation for your first book is the most difficult thing you will ever have to do. If you can’t manage it, you will never get published. And for about 50% of the population, it’s becoming a lot harder.

Gender Shift

 

In this section, you will probably think me a sexist. And if telling what I’ve learned to be the truth is sexist, than I gladly accept that title.

 

Forty years ago, when women were just diving into the workplace, the majority of literary agents were male. Now, about 85% of literary agents are female. This is a problem for men.

 

And this is the sexist part: Women are more emotional than men. This is in no way an indication of weakness, but it means separating logical decisions from emotional ones is much more difficult if not impossible.

 

A male literary agent may look at a prospective book, regardless of the genre, and, based on past experiences, weigh whether or not it’s likely to sell well. Every rejection letter I’ve ever received from a male agent said they did not think it would sell well. Focus on the word “think.” No personal preferences were involved.

 

However, every rejection letter ever received from a female agent was on the lines of: I don’t feel confident about this book. I don’t feel enthusiastic over the story. Note the consistent word “feel.”

 

A female agent will look at a prospective work and go with her gut instinct. She will try to put herself into the novel and see if she enjoys it. She will try to imagine it on the shelves in a book store. And if she can, she might consider accepting it. Here’s the rub: she will never accept a book in a genre she doesn’t personally prefer because, if she doesn’t like that genre, how can she put herself in the novel and enjoy the experience? She is biased, whether she means to be or not.

 

This matters because men tend to write in different genres than women. Likewise, men tend to read in different genres than women. As such, there are alarmingly few new writers in traditionally male-read genres: fantasy, science-fiction, historical fiction, and military fiction. Nevertheless, just as many men want to read these works.

 

At present, only well-established authors are currently writing in these genres, because the new female majority of literary agents will not represent these genres. If you walk into a bookstore—provided you can find one anymore—you will see a few tried and true male fiction writers: Patterson, Koontz, King, Hickman, Cornwell, Iggulden, etc. Also, if you look up each of these writers, you will see they have one thing in common: They’re all over 50. Eventually, these literary greats will die off, and there will be no one to take their place because no literary agent is willing to represent new writers in these genres.

 

And there’s not a damn thing any of us can do about it.

 

Sorry if you thought I had a solution to this problem to share. I don’t. But if I did, do you really think I’d be screwing around on Hubpages instead of working on my next novel? Probably why no one will ever have a solution to present.

More by this Author


Comments 93 comments

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder

One thing that I have noticed, with the new books I have read, is the author talking about proposing the book, before it was ever written, or that the author had a popular blog, with thousands of daily readers, before they wrote a book. Also, I *think* that how-to books are easier to get an approved proposal on, than fiction. I could be wrong, though.


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

That's very true. The standard for non-fiction books is to research the book and develop a proposal, which you submit to prospective agents. Since you've already got down the meat of it, the actual delivery is optional and can be changed once the writer has hooked someone who's interested. It's completely the other way around with fiction writing, in which agents expect you to have already finished and polished the manuscript before you ever bother them.

As for blogs, I agree that they can be helpful in generating a fan-base. But, as with any attempt to get the public's interest, you've got to have a hook first: something which makes you stand out from the rest. On that note, I've not really come up with anything.


D.G. Smith profile image

D.G. Smith 6 years ago

I think all of us with unpublished books feel your pain and understand the statistics, but all of us who write also know we can't stop, its like a drug addiction. So, we continue to send the query letters out and .....well, do the only thing we can... write another book


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

This work was entirely spontaneous. It was meant partly tongue-in-cheek to start with, but I'm at the stage where I can look back and wonder how the hell I was so naïve to begin with. So, I thought a reality check of sorts might be of help, if not as catharsis for me than as a way of letting others know that, yes, their work is probably good enough to be published and, no, the odds are that it won't be. If nothing else, I still think killing off the other 2,999 hopeful writers is a workable option. You don't happen to live nearby, do you? :)


D.G. Smith profile image

D.G. Smith 6 years ago

2999 killings, sounds like another full time job with bad hours and awful pay. I mean sure it might be fun at first but after a hundred or so it is going to get tedious. ;-)


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

And that's where a writer's imagination comes in to spice things up :)


rider_tiger profile image

rider_tiger 6 years ago

Nicely written, and I understand your pain. I was fortunate to have someone contact me and I prepared my first textbook back when I was in the US. Guess what, it was turned down :( I now have two other books published but I am aching to have that first one published. Hopefully the other author will finish his part before the end of summer and we will try again.


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

Do you write fiction or non-fiction?


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States

Jarn, you know that if I'm to follow your advice, you're on my list - right? Which number would you prefer to be? If you do not wish to participate in this publishing campaigne, please send me a list of 2,989 names of prospective writers. And do so quickly...because I'm on my way. (I don't need quite 2,999 names...I know several wannabe-writers locally. I'll stop by their places on the way out.)


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

Nah. You're obviously on to something. Tell you what, credit me in your first novel and we'll call it even. :)


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States

Done!

And you know what else? You might just make it *into* the novel. ;-)


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

Planning to bind it with my skin, are you? That's outright devious, woman! :)


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States

Well, that way I can make a bigger book than I could if I applied to some other fellow for aid. Most of the guys I know aren't over 5'10". Anyway, then I can do the binding myself, and make sure it's done right! I've had to rebind several cherished books...I hate poor craftsmanship.


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

...well played.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States

It was good of you to remember I'm into hide tanning. Some people are surprised to find that the percentage of premium leather out of a full hide is rather small. Then you have to figure out what to do with all the scraps.

I'll be a good girl and go away now. I suppose these kinds of discussions aren't highly conducive to creating a fan base. :-D


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

I should think writing entertaining stories would help me build a fan base. But since there's little chance of that happening, I'm happy for the chance to banter back and forth. ;0


judyjet72 profile image

judyjet72 6 years ago from Southern California

Great Hub. It's a harsh reality but one that we must completely ignore and plug away at our art. Unfortunately with our medium, writing can't become the new overnight sensation a la reality shows like "Top Chef", "Work of Art- The Next Great Artist", "Project Runway" Imagine- 12 writers confined to a hotel and given random writing prompts and challenges. The title of the show could be "The Next Great Murder/ Suicide"


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

That or an AA meeting. :)


MIlam83 6 years ago

I am new here so I hope I'm not crashing the party. I just wanted to say that this was excellent and, unfortunately, accurate.

Nearly twenty years ago I attended a seminar given by a published author. She entered the room carrying two very large stacks of paper, which she soon identified as her letters of rejection. She said, "if you can't handle this, forget about being a published author". Her advice (warning) to aspiring writers encompassed basically what you've said here...that gone are the days of writing being published because the work represents a "good story".

It seems that, for aspiring authors, things have only changed for the worse since then.


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

Yep. I'm fairly certain being a writer constitutes a form of masochism these days. And welcome to Hubpages. Don't worry, most other people's work is a bit more positive than mine :)


MIlam83 6 years ago

Thanks for the welcome Jarn.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

YOU are hilarious! :-) - I am so grateful to Joy At Home for giving me a link to this story. Man, you are good. You may write rubbish novels perhaps, I wouldn't know since obviously no one will publish them, but this article is brilliant :-))


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

It probably is a rubbish novel. I wrote it while recovering from chemo, so I really didn't have much of a goal in mind beyond cool fight scenes. Anyway, I guess I have one more thing to thank Joy At Home for. Thanks for reading. She's been absolutely wonderful to me, and we just might try rewriting said novel if time permits. I will also try to keep updating my stories. Hopefully I will have "For The Horde" completed by the 23rd.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

Now look. If you say things like "If time permits" you disarm me completely and I cannot tease you. Are you the type who wants sympathy or can you take what is obviously a very bad hand that has been dealt to you and communicate on a lighter note?

I am an insensitive brute but I can tell intelligence when I see it and I should like to keep in touch, if it is not objectionable to you :-)


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

Don't think anyone's ever told me I'm the type to want sympathy. I suppose it just takes me a little while to warm up to new people. The mention of chemo was simply to say that I really wasn't at my best mentally, nor did I have access to the best research materials. That's changed now, so Joy and I are gonna try to take another crack at it. Maybe it'll work out, maybe it won't, but it will be a learning experience to collaborate with someone on a project. I've only ever worked by myself before, and she has a much better understanding of developing relationships and character exposition than I.

If you want to keep talking, by all means, I'd be delighted. :)


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

Good lad :-))


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

So, whereabouts in the UK have you set up shop? My stepdad immigrated from Glasgow to Florida about 8 years ago. One heck of a culture shock. No Jaffa Cakes, Turkish Delights, irn-bru, or curry shops anywhere to be had. I'm starting to think we should've gone to live up with him instead, the way he goes on and on about the UK.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

.

If he tells you that the UK is better than the US, then ask him to explain to you "What is the Glascow smile?"

Personally I live in the Midlands, on teh edge of Sherwood forest. This will give you an idea:

http://hubpages.com/entertainment/Note-to-my-Hubbe

Oh, and I am dyslexic, so you will see a lot of mixed up words or words left out completely, when I forget to double check :-))


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

I know full well what a Glasgow smile is. Seen a few guys who had it done to them. A'course, living in the deep south, we normally just shoot people we don't like. I know, it lacks the subtlety of slitting someone's face, but it works well to express our displeasure. After all, we never have to shoot someone twice go get him to go away. :)

Great hub of yours, by the way.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

Thanks, we aim to please :-))

Since you guys shoot people, remind me not to piss you off :-)


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

Well, that's the problem with much of Europe. Only criminals and law enforcement have guns. Here, everyone has guns. Much more interesting that way. Certainly keeps the healthcare system and funerary services busy. Practically part of the economic stimulus package.

I believe the presidential slogan Herbert Hoover ran under in 1928 was "A chicken in every pot, a car in every garage, and a cap in every ass." :)


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

Now you see, you have cought me out. I have no idea what "a cap in every ass" is and why it is presumably funny :-))


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

Cultural differences, I believe. It's a common inner city and rap term to refer to shooting someone. A cap means a bullet.

I am not partial to rap, but I always found the phrase vaguely humorous.


VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 6 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

Oh, dear, I guess only the persistent and lucky gets a book published by a publishing company. I am reminded of the author of the "Celestine Prophecy", whose book was rejected, so, he self published and sold his books from a van - it went on to become a NY Times best seller (if my memory is recalling correctly). I feel sometimes publishing companies miss good opportunities in connecting with promising writers.

Its good to have a peek at what goes on in a publishing company, its best to know the truth, so thank you for writing this!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

Guess it's all about the money in any industry. I'm intrigued - are there really more female literary agents today? What's happening - have men stopped reading, you think?

Thanks for an enjoyable and entertaining hub!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Hey Jarn - this was a brilliant read, and so was the interchange with De Greek. Funny old chap, isn't he? LOL! (I hope he doesn't read this, or he might change his inexplicably good impression of me!)

Thanks for this Hub which had me chuckling and saying (quietly, lest anyone hear me and shoot me or give me the Glasgow smile!) to myself, "Yeah, that's right!"

Love and peace

Tony


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this hub too, so thanks for writing it, Jarn :)

I've always wanted to write a book, but I just don't have the dedication to sit down and write all those words - you know thinking up a storyline and following it through, so I guess there'll be no disappointment for me there. I could see me writing an SEO book though - not one on SEO but one in which the main keywords got repeated at strategic place throughout the book! Guess that's what writing online does to you!

Anyway, don't give up on your endeavours to get published.

If your book is as good as this article, I'd want to read it :)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS

Makes me happy that I've no real ambition to publish and ruin a joyous writing hobby. I guess I got the message early on when, at 13, I submitted a short story to a Seventeen magazine contest and got the rejection letter beginning "We can't all be champs..." I figgered, OK, so be it. But then, I'm female & more emotional about it, I guess. hehe. Actually I'm almost totally balanced in emotional & analytical brain spheres. But I began to become somewhat impervious when I got that Seventeen rejection.

Seriously, Jarn - I truly enjoyed your hub and your attitude and fully intend to follow you & become a fan if you'll have me. Excellent! By the way, if I were a publisher, I'd publish you!


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

I'm so glad that I don't have the gumption to offer anything for publication! :)


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 6 years ago

FP, if literary stalwarts like you are going to throw in the towel, what will happen to the less-worthy like me?

They say each of us has a book in them. I am nowhere near finding mine yet. I do have a large number of incomplete Hubs though.

Thank you Jarn, for interesting viewpoints and a humorous Hub.


msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

lol...Thanks for this thought provoking and realistic assessment of the whole publishing process...

Well, there is always self publishing, which I have done and have recommended to friends. The realm of self publishing really depends a lot on one's aim.

I did meet a lot of self published authors in book signings and one of them, painstakingly tracked every producer in Hollywood, and sold his story to one producer. Last year he told me that Will Smith was the one he wants to play him. I have not heard again.

I have investigated the route of PR/Agents...it is very costly..and does not promise anything.

Oh a note about John Grisham...the man is a perfectionist..I read somewhere that he would write up to a thousand pages and discard almost half of what he wrote..

That is discipline.

I myself am not able to do that so when I published my journal, I gave it to someone else to tear it apart..akkkhhh...that was not easy.


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 6 years ago from Virginia

Love it! Wonderfully written and highly informative. So happy to have been turned on to you! As you can see, I'll never be published because I prefer to write in fragments. :)

I'll look forward to reading more of your hubs!


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Well written, quite amusing and love those graphics! Your advice is sadly daunting but so valuable to the aspiring writer. I'm glad I wound up in the theater and television instead of the literary world which I always found intimidating. Although I've had a relatively successful career, I have to admit I'm over 50 and began at the bottom, spending years and years on long open-audition lines and sweeping newsroom floors.

Even those of us who consider themselves successful have to keep reinventing themselves, but that's what makes life interesting. Of course, it's not always easy or possible to reinvent yourself but I've found that doing something outrageous or totally out of the box can clear your brain and give your psyche a jump-start. Just my two cents, but please don't shoot anyone. Rated this one "up" and "useful".


SilverGenes 6 years ago

I think you hit the nail on the head with your observations about "Twilight". We aren't really about books so much as we are 'all about stories'. That one hits the mark with teens. Romance with vampires. I mean really, that's the ultimate bad boy. There's no way your parents would approve so it's perfect and translates to film well.

So here we have all these writers, people with vivid imaginations and a story to tell but nobody reads anymore. It's rather like having a group of transportation specialists who have perfected a craft related to carriage-making at the dawn of the automobile industry. My guess is that we disregard the 'female carriages purchasing department' and start studying how to adapt what we do to the automotive industry - or so to speak.

Of course, we can always just write commercially to pay the bills and follow our passion quietly until the 'Ford company' becomes more obvious. There are no easy answers at this point and far too many variables.

I really enjoyed your article - thumbs up!


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

I found this to be a very interesting and stimulating hub that readers would jump to leave comments on. I agree with most everything written above my comment here. For what it's worth unless one can spend the time and money to pursue chasing down publishers who MORE than likely won't give you the time of day to look at your manuscript. I would spend my time in a less stressful endeavor:0)

By the looks of what I've read on this subject of getting your BOOK published it appears futile at best. So why don't we just expend our energy on self publication and knowing that at least we are content to see a hard or soft covered version of our work and derive pleasure of signing autographed versions that we created and paid for. That is of course if we have that kind of money laying around to pay for self publication?

Could be a high price to pay for self gratification.

Along the way should a publisher stumble onto our creative genius:0) and think us worthy enough of their time and assistance in pursuing our dreams. In my opinion then and only then will we have a chance to reach the world in print.

Realistically though, I would be content to self publish and place on Amazon for people to read them in there Kindle..after all the written page may become extinct. Everything seems to be going the way of digital, convenience, easy to read, instant gratification. etc etc.

These are just my observations, my time is better spent on satisfying my own desires to write and have fun in places like the Hubs and sharing with others. Not so much chasing a publisher down to put me in the fore front of readers, who may or may not have any interest in reading what I have paid dearly to have printed.

Thanks for the share, this is a very eye opening hub and useful.


mulberry1 profile image

mulberry1 6 years ago

I'm no writer but I came across your hub. What a rough profession!I'm pretty sure I would have to go the electronic, self-publishing route to start. Rejection would get tough after 100 or so. Don't give up, the rest of us non-creative types need people like you to write for us.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

Brilliant hub! Thanks for enlightening this delusional wanna be author, I shall stick to my art. At least my paintings are selling! Hope things go well for you. You are in my thoughts.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Someday I may want to visit Sherwood Forest and take up the De Greeks' offer of the spare bedroom, so when DG said "Go read this hub", of course I did. (Have you looked at hotel rates in the UK lately?)

Seriously...getting a first novel published is much like landing a first job. Can't get hired without experience, can't get experience unless someone hires you.

However...we now live in the age of e-books and companies who print small runs (print-on-demand). The second option being the route I intend to go for the biography of a vaudevillian I'm working on, plus hawking it on my blog and the blogs of friends.

In today's world, one has to think "niche market", not potential NY Times Best Seller list, which is what literary agents are going for. Many successful authors never make the NYTBS, but do make a comfortable living anyway writing for niche markets. The trick is to figure out *your* niche, then get your book into the hands of readers in that niche, even if it means paying for the first run yourself and selling them from the trunk of your car.

Or simply go the obvious route and have De Greek promote your book. He's a master at promoting hubs and hubbers - why not books by hubbers???? ;D


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

@ Violetsun Glad you liked it.

@ Shalini Kagal I would have to say the vast majority of agents I’ve submitted my own work to are female. As for why they’ve taken over the business, no clue. But I do believe that, in this country at least, male readership is down simply because the American sense of values does not place a high importance on intellectual pursuits. Hence, reading for pleasure might not be as common among males as it used to be. Remember, there are more college graduate women in the US than there are men now.

@tonymac04 Glad DE GREEK sent you my way. I’ve heard it called a Chelsea Smile as well. Not sure why.

@IzzyM That’s sweet of you. Thanks much.

@Nellieanna That’s one thing about wanting to write professionally, it’s no longer a hobby. I can’t read a book and enjoy it anymore; I’m too focused on picking it apart to figure out how the writer did it. And, just so you know, it’s practically impossible to be a good writer and not get emotional when someone rejects or trashes your work. If you did it right, you put yourself into it, so it never stops hurting when someone says they don’t want it.

@Feline Prophet That’s what I love about laziness. No one can ever blame you for doing anything wrong. ?

@msorensson Self publishing is something I would consider had I the money. But, being a writer, by definition I’m skint broke. PR is a little different than agents. They work to make your name well known, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they know anyone in publishing. A good literary agent has no up front fees. And you should run if they try to charge you anything. No, they take between 10 and 15 percent of whatever you make in book advances and royalties. They don’t make a penny until you do. That’s the way to go. As for John Grisham, I believe he’s a disciplined man, but as it pertains to the last book I read by him, The Associate, he may have accidentally thrown away the wrong half of the book.

@Green Lotus. Because you rated my article positively, I promise not to shoot anyone that you know. That’s the best I can do ?

@Silvergenes You make your point eloquently. Well spoken. I have written commercially for a few years now and am sick of it. Unfortunately, that just leaves writing fiction. So I’m going to be a starving artist for a while, even though we may be the equivalent of the buggy-whip manufacturer at the dawn of the automobile. Bottom line, the publishing industry’s going to have to get off its keister and learn to compete with self published and online books. Right now, online books are much cheaper and much more prevalent. The only thing that holds them back is the mystique, that mental image that all of us have of the famous writer behind a table, signing hardback books for a line of fans that goes back for miles.

@Saddlerider1 Though you probably don’t know, I am disabled and cannot leave my home. I have always wanted to be a writer, and it just so happens that it’s the only profession I can pursue while being stuck in these same walls everyday. So, daunting as it may be, getting books published and building my name as a writer is the only viable way (longshot though it may be) for me to generate an income and avoid eventual homelessness when my caregivers pass on. While I would prefer writing, something I love dearly, to be carefree, frivolous, and at my own leisure, I do not have that luxury. Thanks for reading.

@Mulberry1 Electronic publication is one way to go. At the moment, I save it for works I’ve done where there are no anthologies or magazines that are interested. However, the publishing industry and public as a whole don’t take electronic publication as seriously. Seeing it printed on paper, bound, and sitting on a shelf if like it’s carved in stone. That is the ultimate testament to agents and publishers of a writer’s worth. And being the straightforward person I am, that is my goal.

@Gypsy Willow Thank you for that kindness. It’s always pleasant to be kept in someone’s thoughts.

@JamaGenee With DE GREEK as my promoter, I’m fairly certain I could get a book published by next week. I mean, look at all the nice folks who took a look at my work just because he suggested it. It really blew me away when I checked my email this morning.


dawnM profile image

dawnM 6 years ago from Camarillo, CA

De Greek was kind enough to e-mail me this link so I have to thank him!! Great information, I am in the process of trying to get my book published right now, the only good thing is that I live close to hollywood so the amount of agents is abudent here it's just finding the right on to represent me. thank you so much for this informative article!!!


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

Thanks for reading, though I should probably point out, there is a huge difference between a talent agent and a literary agent. Literary agents are mostly based in New York. They only represent writers. Talent agents represents actors, singers, dancers, etc.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Yes, Jarn, it was De Greek who sent me here, but it was I who decided to remain ... long enough to read every word - even the comments.

So I shall become your fan and would be delighted to have you visit me, too.

Absolutely inspired by your humorous graphics.


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

I'll be happy to, drbj.


De Cuz profile image

De Cuz 6 years ago from Portsmouth

Hi Jarn, I have to give you prior warning.....I am related to De Greek!!! 'nuf said heh!!

A most interesting insight into the literary world you seem to be drawn into. I guess the thing that struck me were your comments to Nellieanna, remarking at the difference between hobby writing, and writing as a profession. I really hadn't thought about that aspect. I would be so dissapointed if reading a new novel became a comparative study of style and/or composition, to the point that the pleasure was diminished or rendered void.

How you are able to rationalise your rejections is amazing. Is this because you actually know the weakness in your work as seen by the agent or publisher, or is it the reaction that most talented people have?...." I dont give a jot!"

Which ever Jarn, I wish you well and by following you I'm sure I shall be enlightened.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

Hi, you are so right, I have had a few magazine stories published a few years ago, but these days it is just zilch, it is so much harder, but we have to keep trying, thanks for an interesting article, cheers nell


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

Hi, De Cuz! Reading used to be my favorite hobby. I suppose it still is, but now I've learned to appreciate the little nuances of style that a writer employs. See, it's amazing how much the reader's imagination contributes to the story. The writer might want to describe an elaborate room, but he's not going to spend a whole chapter doing it. So, he uses a few words loaded with various possible meanings, a simile or two, portrays the characters' reactions to their surroundings, and then the reader's own mind fills in all the blanks. And it does it in such a way that you don't even notice until you go back and force yourself to focus on the actual words. That's the mark of a professional: knowing the audience so well that he doesn't beat descriptions to death.

Anyway, rationalizing rejections is difficult at first. Any artist likes his/her work, else he/she wouldn't be doing it in the first place. Unfortunately, it's always such a let down to find out that other people don't view that art in the same special way its creator does. So, our immediate reaction to rejection usually involves denial, shock, anger, a lot of swearing, probably more drinks than is good for us, then attempting to blame everyone but ourselves. Something along the lines of saying they're jealous, wouldn't know a good story if it bit them in the ass, etc. And, for some editors, publishers, and agents, it's probably true. But, if every one of them points out the same issues with your work, it can't just be chalked up to coincidence. So, writing is like a balancing act. Quality vs. marketability.

I'm a perfectionist and more than a little neurotic when it comes to my work. So, when I kept getting rejections, I would beat my head against the wall trying to figure out why they wouldn't accept it. Eventually, I got to know an editor for a short story magazine pretty well. He rejected a lot of my work, but always had nice things to say about it. One day when I received a half dozen rejection letters and had put away a few shots of bourbon, I sent a letter asking "If you like it so f---ing much, then why the hell won't you print it?"

He'd dealt with guys just getting started in writing before, and knew what was going on with me. He told me that it was simply because the story didn't fit with the style they were going for with that month's magazine issue, then told me the facts of life, which I've improved upon based on my furthered experiences and presented.

That's when it hit me, it doesn't matter how skilled a writer you are, most of getting published is down to dumb luck and playing the odds. I try to stack the odds in my favor by making the work extremely marketable, and then I submit it to everyone and his brother. If I get rejected 40 times for every acceptance letter I receive, as long as I keep sending out the stories, someone's going to bite eventually. So, now when I get a rejection letter, I take a second to wish black hell on the editor, then throw it aside, because the work will get published eventually, and I don't want the bastard editor to have the satisfaction of having ruined my day. :)


Challah1202 profile image

Challah1202 6 years ago from Chandler, TX

I got lots of rejedtions slips, too. I wish I had kept them. I could cry daily about my disappointment. I wish I had taken online writing seriously when I first read about it, but I didn't. Now I'm thrilled with it. It's funny how addicting writing is. I guess I'd do it without any response, but it's more fun if someone reads and responds and especially if it makes money. My best to you!!!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

I admire your tenacity as I find that I have a terribly hard time with rejection on any level. I constantly have to tell myself to grow up and get on with it - and usually I end up in an argument with myself. This would probably give the illusion that I am slightly 'teched in the head as my grandmother would have said' - yikes!

Seriously though....I agree with everyone as well that some of this 'stuff' that is being shoved at us and called 'good writing' is in my humble opinion falling very short of the mark. However, look at how popular it is.

I decided a while back to do as Ken said above - to just write and see where it all goes. That seems to be my best policy because otherwise I would become immersed in NOT being rejected and probably would drown myself as I could not bear a steady diet of negativity!

All that said, your article is more than well written - it is very instructive and helps us to realize what we are up against. It is a changing world out there and I think physical books will be a thing of the past - how sad that makes me! Onward and upward I always think though and please keep writing so that we can all enjoy your wisdom further! (and Dim is a brute - we have all read about his fights and I would always keep my hands up! ha ha)


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

Akirchner, I can understand how difficult it is to take rejection. However, I tend to be a pretty cynical person to start with. So I have learned to simply expect rejection the moment I send out the submission. That way, since I've not got my hopes up, they don't fall and hurt me later on.

I have difficulty accepting that physical books will simply dissappear. I grew up not far from a library, and though it was small, the quiet, contemplative, musty feel of all those books around me left a very powerful impression. And I think that people have a natural prejudice toward works that you can't hold in your hand, feel, and physically flip through the pages. To that end, physical books are gonna go down swinging if publishers maintain their elitist "member's only" attitude.

But, if they drop that mindset, realize that electronic works are going to corner the market, and try to make physical books more competative as regards to selection and pricing, then the publishing industry as we know it might survive. And who knows? It might revitalize the industry. That would make me very happy.


Culturespain 6 years ago

Good advice, Jarn. I have had three books published and the whole process is always traumatic and, like most writers, what I most want published is what seems to get the rejection slips. It is a tough business and my advice (for what it is worth) is that, as a writer, you need to focus on writing for a specific market. Writing what you want is dangerous to do and can simply result in countless rejects. These are invariably less about quality than an agent/publisher's lack of conviction that the work concerned will make money. So, if you get rejects (we all do) then do not take it too personally - just research your market better and write for that and that alone...


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

Well said, Culturespain. And you know what's funny? Every agent, editor, and publisher says the exact opposite; that I should write want I want. I can't tell whether they're all hypocrites or have no idea what writers actually go through. It's such bullsh--.

Anyway, what sort of books have you written?


culturespain 6 years ago

Jarno, two unpublished novels (that I am passionate about - damn it!) and four factual books (one due out shortly). All the factual books are tightly targeted for given markets.

If I was to give any advice about writing (with great humility) I would say first write something (even if you do not like the subject matter) that will definitely get published. You then become (unarguably) an 'author' and this will help your credibility enormously with agents and other publishers.

Secondly, recognise that we are now living in a revolution in writing terms. The Internet is destroying conventional publishing and making it much harder to get published than ever before. So, do not fight a battle you cannot win and start to publish on the Internet. This may then lead to a conventional publishing contract.

Thirdly, books are about money. You must recognise that and realise that unless a book will make money then it will not be picked up by a publisher. This does not mean that you should not write poetry or some 'beautiful' work - but ask yourself first: who is going to buy it and are there lots of potential buyers.

Thirdly, only produce quality work (dangerous for me to state this!) - i.e. never allow anything you write to be below par, whether it is an article, post or book. Protect your writing integrity at all times!

Finally, do not listen too carefully to the subjective advice of others about what you have written. Be bold about what you write, be aggressive about writing and KEEP DOING IT. Persistence will pay off. Good luck...


TransScribbler 6 years ago

Hi Jarn. Great hub. The only problem with it is that it is all too true!

Hub or blog? The problem with having a vast following online before going on to have a book published, is that the publisher then turns around and says "but you have put that poem/prose piece/article on your hub/blog. We can't use that - it's already been published!"

I am seriously looking at self publishing for my next project. It's hard work if you go that path, but I'm up for it.

Good luck with the script!


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

You have a good discussion going here I see :-))

Well done :-)


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

@Culturespain I don't know. I may be a hindbound idiot for saying it, but I still believe in the value of getting books published by the traditional method. I'm still sending out queries daily, and actually have a few agents interested that I simply haven't heard the final decision from yet. I agree with you in that persistence will pay off, but I don't think online publishing presents the same advertising options and market return that the current industry does. That may change in time, but until then, online publishing is my last choice. As for your third suggestion; I agree completely. That's why I'm trying so hard to get published: I cannot stand copywriting. It's typing the same thing a dozen different ways by rote. And if I should ever actually like the topic of the day, the editors rip it apart and make it look like something an 8th grader threw up.

@Transscribbler I understand what you mean about not being able to publish what you post online. That's why I've comparitively few stories posted. I used to place them on my blog to get feedback for rewrite purposes, and then take them off before I started sending them out. It seems to have worked. You might consider that. If the story isn't placed anywhere else at the time you send it to a magazine or editor, there's no way they can know otherwise.

@ De Greek Well, I seem to have stumbled upon a winner for Hubpages. Essentially, as long as I present an informative article in a highly cynical manner, it presents the opportunity for other people to put in their two cents and complain under the guise of commiseration. That way, everyone gets the attention they want. I'll try to write a few more like it before long.


MrAungst profile image

MrAungst 6 years ago from Penna

Hey this hub is great, as I really hope to have a published book someday. Thanks for the tips.


culturespain 6 years ago

Jarn - the advertising options are far greater on-line. Classically, they are done by hypertexting text. Of course, this can only be done effectively in a factual book. As to copy writing, it can pay okay but is clearly not the same as writing your own stuff.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

Jarn, your determination to publish a book truly deserve a bow, for a writer without determination will not even get a short story published, not to talk about a novel. However, you know the law regarding buyers and sellers. The latter have no choice but to produce what the buyers want (and not what they need). This is Life; the work of GREAT artists was appreciated for the 1st time long after they have died.) You are far cleverer than the average buyer and publisher (who is only a screwed businessman). Why not forget about publishers/literary agents for a while and study the buyers, then adapt your manuscript, or write a book with the same theme, but according to the market’s demand, subtlety feeding the buyers with the knowledge and wisdom you want them to have? You’ve got to give them exactly what they want in such a unique way that even the agent have no choice but to introduce you to a publisher. Yeah.... easy said than done, I know, but I also know you just have to do it and you have the ability to do it. Strongs! May your dreams soon come true. PS: Congratulations with this excellent hub! A prove that you have written a hub that was wanted (and needed) by many.


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 6 years ago from Great Britain

Great depressing.. er l mean encouraging hub!!!!

Guess l know i´ll never get published, but hubpages is such fun.

Wish I had a gun, though.


Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 5 years ago from Los Angeles

I read this hub a few month ago when my friend De Greek sent me a link. I know for sure I wanted to leave a comment, buy somehow it never happened. I believe that your account of the endless vicious cycle of is very accurate, well explained (humor and all); it is sad that marketability takes precedence and talent does not enter the equation. When I see celebrities writing books and playing “experts” (especially about subjects they have no clue about – like skin care, nutrition and the rest) I want to scream.

This insanity must be stopped. De Greek wrote a hub and put out a great idea about ways to do it. For whatever reasons he deleted the hub and that’s shame. Lynda Martin also wrote a few hubs on the subject; you should check them out.

Do not lose hope about being published; one of this days I will write a hub about the way I managed to be published a few times over. Maybe not all of my suggestions will apply to everyone, but is a start.


Jarn profile image

Jarn 5 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

Petra, I think I might make a start at getting a book published by hiring DeGreek as my publicist. Practically all my followers come through his recommendations. :)

Thank you for your encouragement. I will look forward to your recounting of how you managed to get published. It should be a more educational read than most "how-to" books out there written by people who haven't had to work for their publications in almost 20 years. Cough**Stepken King**Cough.


Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 5 years ago from Los Angeles

I just finish writing the promised hub and as soon as Hub Pages get their act together with the stupid "my photo - beta" new system, I will publish it.


Jarn profile image

Jarn 5 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

My goodness, you're certainly prolific, aren't you.


lisadpreston profile image

lisadpreston 5 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

Jarn, your day is coming. You have the skill but timing is key. Your greatest success will come when the timing is right. Don't lose the faith or your dream. It will come to you. Just be patient and keep your chin up. I know you don't want to hear this but you will be published! Give it some more time. Smile.


Jed Fisher profile image

Jed Fisher 5 years ago from Oklahoma

Of course I won't be published, but my writing will. No matter if my writing isn't picked up by book manufacturers, it's their loss. Their penchanct to pander to the median consumer with novels about blood- sucking narcissists is putting them on the verge of living in a cardboard box, not me. Electronic media such as HubPages has cut a wide swath through the nonsense.


Jarn profile image

Jarn 5 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

Lisa, thank you for the encouragement. It came at just the right time, what with me having spent the last week in the hospital and feeling pretty low over myself.

Jed, I agree that a writer's options are vastly increased now that venues such as online publishing and Hubpages exist. But I'm not entirely certain that's a good thing. To my mind what gives a publication its worth is the toil one had to go through to achieve it. Not just the planning, researching, and writing of the story, but the submission and review process as well. After all, nothing worthwhile ever comes easy, which is why Hubpages, though I enjoy the community, is difficult for me to take with the utmost seriousness. It's too easy. No review process or constipated editor to stand in your way.

And if it's too easy, what assurances then does the reader have? I pick up a book on the store shelf and I know one of two things: either this book is a rehashed piece of low-brow trash produced by book manufacturers who grossly underestimate their audience and are just trying to make a quick buck, or this book has been reviewed by agents and manufacturers, who set enough stock in it that they're willing to risk however many thousands of dollars a widescale distribution would cost.

The difference here is, when I look at something on Hubpages, there is no such inherent gaurantee. Admittedly, some of it is good, but much of it is not. All of it could be better if the stakes were higher. There is no process here which presses us to push our own limitations, go back to the beginning, start over, reinvent ourselves, and find that the limitations we thought we had were just an illusion. Without peer review and competition, with the easy victories we have here, there will come only stagnation.

In short, unless electronic media can establish itself as tenaciously as print media has done, I fear the swath it has cut will simply grow over in time. After all, the fact that they are median consumers means they outnumber the rest of us on a collective front. That's a lot of Twilight fans. :)


Newmariedy222 5 years ago

What a BRILLIANT hub! You made me realise that rejection is not the end, and that I should just keep trying. Thanks.


lisadpreston profile image

lisadpreston 5 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

Hey, are you ok? Why are you in the hospital? I will worry until I hear from you.


Jarn profile image

Jarn 5 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

I will probably live, Lisa. Thank you for asking. This time, my gallbladder chose to give out. The pain sent me to the emergency room, where they could not come up with an immediate diagnosis and decided to admit me. After a week of observation, (and heavy painkillers which I have little memory of), they decided the gallbladder needed to come out before they made any more esoteric diagnoses. Turns out there were a dozen gallstones, each the size of a breadcrumb, which the scans didn't find. Hopefully that's the source of the pain, though there's no conclusive evidence to this yet.

Now I'm stuck trying to figure out how to pay a surgeon who seems to hate me though I am disabled and cannot work.

To add insult to injury, the testicular cancer which has been in remission since March has reappeared. They found that out while I was hospitalized. It's in stage 3, and seems to progress in spurts despite whatever treatment they throw at it. My medical bills are running higher than most people's mortgages. So, to put it as politely as I can manage, I am no worse off than I ever was: that is, highly depressed, homeless were it not for what generosity my ailing parents can spare, and a ball of impotent anxieties.

But it's going to be alright. Today, I found a fortune cookie that says "God will grant you everything you want." With this evidence in hand, I intend to go to the nearest church forthwith and demand an explanation for the non-existant service thus far. :)


lisadpreston profile image

lisadpreston 5 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

Jarn, I am so sorry. I had no idea that your health was so bad. I am seriously worried about you. Not just your health but your mental state. You have every reason to be depressed and anxiety ridden. Something would be wrong with you if you weren't. Don't worry about those medical bills as long as they will still treat you. If you pay a little something, I don't think they can refuse you. Can you get medicaid or medicare since you are disabled? They actually took your gallbladder out? I am going to read up on testicular cancer. I don't know much about it. My mother died from breast cancer at the age of 39 so this subject of cancer and you having it, is tearing at my heart. Somehow you have to get your mental state in better shape because it will directly affect the cells in your body that cause cancer. You do still have a sense of humor which is good. The fortune cookie and going to the church to demand an explanation for non-existent service was hysterically funny.

What can I do to help you? I want to help you in any way that I possibly can. It wasn't all that long ago that I was homeless, broke, and full of despair from my husband dying, the bank stealing my house, financial advisors ripping me off for thousands of dollars, etc. etc. I know depression and anxiety. They are my constant companions. You are going to get through this and the cancer is going to be gone, but you have to believe this. What do you need short term? Email me so that I can send you something. I wont discuss this in the comment section of your hub. That would be a little tacky of me. I am not going to use the worn out generic statement, "I'll pray for you". I will be thinking about you and am happy to help you look for real solutions. Don't be afraid. You have more strength and power than you realize. Try to stay positive. What happens inside the body is a direct result of what is in our mind. Email me please. lisadpreston@yahoo.com.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

I'm going to run a link to this article as it is good information that I will incorporate into my HUB for "Watchdogg" novel.


Jarn profile image

Jarn 5 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

Provided you credit me for the information, please do.


Jeff May profile image

Jeff May 5 years ago from St. Louis

I've been collecting rejections slips for a long time, an early one directly from Scribners, in which they complimented my work. That was 1980 at the dawn of word processing and obviously things changed. However, in the years since, I've been moderately successful, several short stories published, one nominated for a Pushcart, another getting a Writer's Digest award, and one novel "traditionally" published; that is, it was not self-published, nor did I pay a dime to the company. Unfortunately, that company succumbed to the Great Recession. Still, I do not make enough money to write full time. Few do. Even excellent literary writers need university jobs and grants to survive. The publishing world has been changing rapidly for twenty years, and now the pace seems to be picking up with ebooks. My recommendation (after you have perfected your craft) is to seek out relatively new or small publishing companies; they are more willing to take a risk. Beyond that, try Kindle and Nook publishing. (But please don't clutter the market with your first or second drafts or with writing that hasn't been vetted by brutally critical fellow writers and readers.) My novel “Where the River Splits”, praised in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, hopefully will live on as an ebook after the remaining trade paperbacks are sold.


Edward Cul de Sac 5 years ago

Why don't you slap some teen fanfiction romance together like Meyer did, get published and call it a day? I'm not being sarcastic either. Make the main character a Mary Sue reader-self-insert and give her a Moe Weakness like tripping or (or in Meyer's case her female lead stumbled). Make sure your story is riddled with hot guys & remember to describe exactly how hot he is one every other page, and I promise you, you will be PUBLISHED.


Edward Cul de Sac 5 years ago

Why don't you slap some teen fanfiction romance together like Meyer did, get published and call it a day? I'm not being sarcastic either. Make the main character a Mary Sue reader-self-insert and give her a Moe Weakness like tripping or (or in Meyer's case her female lead stumbled). Make sure your story is riddled with hot guys & remember to describe exactly how hot he is one every other page, and I promise you, you will be PUBLISHED.


swordsbane profile image

swordsbane 5 years ago from Wisconsin

I'm late to the party and only a beginning writer, so treat this with the proper filter on your glasses, but after reading this, the first thing that comes to mind is: Don't use literary agents OR publishing houses. A real dead-tree book is pathetically easy to publish on demand on your own. It will make us writers be marketing agents as well, but with the world increasingly on the internet, and ton's of help out there to do just that, I don't really see any up-side to writing and publishing the 'traditional way' Big publishing houses are having to struggle more and more to maintain their stable of writers and stay relevant. Internet publishing is doable and becoming more and more lucrative. The better it get's the less relevant traditional publishing will get. It might actually HURT a writing career to use a traditional publishing house. At least to ONLY use traditional publishing houses.


KT Banks profile image

KT Banks 4 years ago from Texas

Good hub. I'm too worn out from reading all the comments to say more about it. lol


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM

As you already know, this is a great hub. It is very interesting to hear about your ups and downs with the publishing industry. I have not foraged into this area yet, so I admire your courage. I say keep writing and keep trying to get published. I don't know much about self-publishing, but if all else fails, I'd try that. At least you'd get your work out there and you have a fan base here on hubpages, so at least we would purchase the novel and read it. That at least is a start.

How is your health? I hope you have conquered the cancer. I, too, have read all the comments and whewwwww - there are a lot! Good for you and keep writing! Voted up!

Oh, and I love the fork photo and analogy!


Jarn profile image

Jarn 4 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

Self-publication is a possibility, but to be honest I am refraining from it because to do so would be to admit defeat, at least in my mind.

The cancer is currently in remission and has been for the last 18 months. The functional motility disorder has, unfortunately, disabled me permanently, though it has been four years of fighting thus far to try to convince the government of that. In addition, the superior limbal keratoconjunctivitis in my eyes causes me pain on par with being pepper sprayed every waking moment and has the rest of my family calling every medical facility for 500 miles to beg for help because they fear I may kill myself to finally get the pain to stop one of these days. I find the point rather moot considering I have also just been diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome, an immune disorder which will eat the connective tissue in my joints until the slightest movement is beyond agonizing. At that time, it will turn on my liver and kidneys and kill me. Since the condition is so rare and most people don't get it until their late 40s, no one is quite sure how long I'll last.

So, thank you for your concern, and I will most certainly try to keep writing, as it at least gives me something to look forward to and cling to, but at this point any hopes of making a career of it or living that novelist's dream seem to have come too late to be of any use.

Thanks for liking the fork analogy. I cannot help but see myself in that position every time I look at that picture.


My Moments profile image

My Moments 3 years ago

I see I am a bit late to this party, was Hub hopping to do some research for my next Hub about the first rejection letter I have received for a short story submission. And why being rejected isn't the end of the world...but after reading this maybe it is! :)

I am a grant writer and have dealt with rejection many times, but in that world I know how to play the game. In the world of publishers and literary agents I know nothing.

Loved the info and voted up and useful!


Jarn profile image

Jarn 3 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

Glad my work can still be of use to someone. Getting a short story published in a reputable venue is actually more difficult than getting a book published considering the nature of the dying short story market versus the number of publishers there are interested in fiction. Unless you happen to be wealthy, well-connected, or have the luck of the very Devil himself, chances are you're not going to get published in a pro level magazine.

I suppose the first thing to do is make sure you know the difference between a market that's worth your time and one that isn't. A pro-level magazine pays a minimum of five cents a word for a story, has a circulation of more than 1,000, and has been publishing periodicals regularly for at least a year. Check out the interactive guides at Ralan and Duotrope to find them.

Once you've exhausted those listings, you might look up the work of Philip Spry. He's making an absolute killing on Amazon and Barnes & Noble by exploiting how their search functions work. And if you can't get the attention of someone high up in the literary industry, you can at least laugh all the way to the bank.


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My Moments 3 years ago

Thanks for the advice. I got on Duotrope just recently but haven't had much time to look around yet.


Silvina from Argentina 2 years ago

Jarn, obviously I enter this discussion late. But I'm used to do that. I just wanted to say that you've helped me with my delusional dreams. You see, I'm a wannabe writer as you are, but I'm from Argentina and to make matters worse I write in English (here we speak Spanish, but I've always liked the English literature better and my mind conjures stories in English, so I feel weird translating them to another language)

The thing is, for a moment I felt discouraged to keep writing; the question "why am I even bothering?" popped into my head. But after reading your hub and the comments bellow I knew that passion has no reason, and no rejection letter can kill that. At least now I'm warned and advised. The literary world is a tough one, but us wannabe writers are tough, so we just keep going.

I read in the comments above that your health is failing, and I cannot do anything more than keep you in my prayers and send you positive energy wherever you are.

God bless you!

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