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On the Road to Getting Published for the First Time - #1

Updated on June 29, 2011

First Time Author

The Rocky Road

To start off, I want to make clear I am a first time author with, as yet, an unpublished novel. So, take everything I say here from that perspective. I am only going to give my experiences in my first foray into the publishing world. I made this hub to give other first time authors some solace so they know they are not alone. This is certainly not a " how to" hub.

I finished my first novel, "Diary: Alone on Earth," (supernatural, apocalyptic fiction) last summer. It took me eight months to complete. I was ready to throw my hands up and quit many times. But, thanks to friends and family, I hung in there. I soon found out what I was told by a veteran writer to be the absolute truth. Completing the novel was the easy part. How true that was! Before I spoke with him, I didn't know the difference between a literary agent and real estate agent (well, maybe a bit of an exaggeration there, but not by much). A "query letter?" You might as well have been speaking to me in Chinese. Almost a year later, I am amazed how little I knew then. I know a bit more now. But, I still consider myself a babe in the woods of the publishing world. There are quite a few things I have learned. But, since that would turn into a novel, I decided to post them in different parts over the coming months.

One thing I learned right away is there are a lot of people out there willing and able to lighten your bank account for you. I'm talking about the numerous self-publishing sites and the huge number of scams. The scams seem to be tailored toward the first time writer as i have discovered over the months. I almost got taken in by one scam artist who "...specialized in first time authors." What is disheartening to me is this same scam artist is allowed to advertise on Google Adsense ads right here on HubPages and elsewhere. If you do a Google search on these people, you will find some amazing information about them. Such as what? Such as being indicted on fraud charges of bilking people out of thousands and thousands of dollars. These people are still allowed to operate for reasons I don't understand. My advice to the first timer; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. An old saying, but very, very true.

Another thing I discovered; self-publishing isn't all that. I am sure there are some self-published authors who are successful. I would love to hear from you if you are one of those. But, from everything I have been able to discern thus far, self-publishing can lead to heartache for the first timer. Lots of expenditures for selling maybe 75-100 books. The traditional route is a hardship also, as I have quickly discovered. The traditional publisher that will take a chance on an unpublished author is very rare. This is especially true in these tough economic times. Consider also the publishing field is undergoing some fundamental changes due to technology. So, it appears I am caught between a rock and a hard place. But, for now, I am praying for a miracle by going the traditional route.

Literary agents deserve their own separate hub page. I'm sure most are good decent people. I have met two agents. But, I did not like their advice on what to do with my novel. They both said they read the manuscript. But, judging by what they had to say, I am not sure they read past the first few pages. Sure, they are busy. But, don't advise me to fundamentally change the entire nature of the story. Maybe the advice was good and I don't know it. Right now, I intend to stick to my story as is. Much more on them in a later hub page.

Will share more in my next hub on this subject. Right now, I need to send off some more query letters.


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  • schoolgirlforreal profile image

    schoolgirlforreal 6 years ago

    Just got published too. On Kindle. called Invisible Illness. Please check it out?

  • Writer David profile image

    Writer David 7 years ago from Mobile, AL


    It is not easy. I have given up on the more traditional route with publishers and so-called "literary agents." I am going the ebook route instead. Thanks for your comment.

  • profile image

    ctbrown7 7 years ago

    Sounds like getting that first book published is a challenge. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Writer David profile image

    Writer David 7 years ago from Mobile, AL

    lukeuk, thanks for the kind words! Ive seen your outstanding work on traffup also.

  • lukeuk profile image

    lukeuk 7 years ago from United Kingdom

    saw your hub on traffup , great work

  • Pollyannalana profile image

    Pollyannalana 7 years ago from US

    oops, lol, I meant words.

  • Pollyannalana profile image

    Pollyannalana 7 years ago from US

    I know what you mean David, I wrote a children's book just to get into practice to write a book and we all loved it so, over 20,000 pages so it was kind of a children's book for grown ups, lol. I found some agents names and started sending the bit out but the bite came back, I got dozens of people all of a sudden could turn my book into a best seller and I was so lucky they were going to give me $1000 off for doing that. I ripped a message off to several telling them my work was good enough someone was going to pay me not me them! I cooled down though and wrote three more booked plus the dozens of poems and I am just this week going to do something! Wish me luck. I am looking for something you wanted me to read 10 months ago...that was a bad time and I am not sure I did so if I didn't let me know which it was. (Better late than never)So sorry if I didn't.

  • Writer David profile image

    Writer David 8 years ago from Mobile, AL

    Wayne, I am just stubborn, I guess. I believe my book is going to do very, very well. The "only problem" is convincing the archaic publishing industry of that belief! Thanks for dropping by.

  • Wayne Brown profile image

    Wayne Brown 8 years ago from Texas

    A good and interesting start on a journey I plan to catch up with and keep up with. I have been encourage by serveral folks to attempted to get published but one, I have not written the book yet, and two, the battle to achieve the goal of getting published may be more than I am willing to strap on at the present. I suppose you can find a scam artist of one kind or other almost anywhere you look. I am quite the skeptic so I will probably end up passing on even a solid deal. Thanks for a useful hub, David. WB

  • profile image

    Pollyannalana 8 years ago

    Sounds interesting I will go over it again tomorrow, been a long day, looks good though, can use any info, thx.

  • Writer David profile image

    Writer David 8 years ago from Mobile, AL

    Thanks for the headsup, Lori. I will follow you so I don't lose track of you. I will be curious how your sales are doing with this publisher. I really don't want to get involved with a publisher that is going to sit on my novel for a year or more. Thanks again.

  • profile image

    loriamoore 8 years ago

    I too am a new author, just published two books in the last 90 days through a small house publisher. Not self-published, not a big New York house, not a vanity publishers, just a smaller publisher with great customer service, editing, and marketing. Check out some of my hubs about my books and my publisher.


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