Saturday, December 11, 2010


is one of the few specialized activities where the non-specialist tends to take precedence over those who really know what they are doing. When somebody wants someone to fly a plane they hire a pilot. If someone is needed to perform surgery a surgeon is called, and if a new office building is required you generally get people with the right know-how to design and make these things. But when it comes to publishing novels the first and best opportunities tend to be handed to celebrities, friends of clebrities, well connected individuals of one sort or another, people who are very good at and recognized for something other than writing, people with whatever problems are fashionable at the moment, and literary apparatchiks who have spent more time and energy on self-promotion than actual writing.

If there is anything left over after all the above groups have been satisfied, once in a while an actual writer without anything to commend her but the quality of her work just might squeak by the censors and get a book published.


Queen of the Universe said...

Here, Here!

The process BLOWS and not in a good way...ugh.

Timothy said...

I hear this sort of thing a lot from authors. In fact, one of the hobbling author myths is that an author needs to know somebody to be fully considered (or that famous persons always are first in line). I do not want to blame the victim. After reading 20,000 proposals while an acquisitions editor, most authors (or their agents) spend far too little time on their proposals. I now work to assist authors to get their paperwork to stand head-and-shoulders above the crowd.

Roxy Katt said...

I can easily enough believe that a lot of writers don't write good query letters or put together proposals very well, but I have spent a lot of time putting together query letters that should make any publisher's or agent's mouth water. So far, no success.

Timothy said...

Roxy, That's puzzling. And with such thoroughness, I can only imagine that you also have targeted the most fitting publishers (or agents). Some things are beyond an author's control, such as a number of proposals on the same (or close) subject in the queue. I would be happy to troubleshoot your situation on a complimentary basis.