78 Reasons why your book may never be published is a must read for any wannabe writers. Pat Walsh was a founding editor of the publishing company, MacAdam/Cage and he offers his years of experience in the publishing world and how it really works, forewarned is forearmed.
I was given this book by the owner of my local bookshop as a gift. We have been talking off and on about publishing and writers for a few months, he previously working in the industry for many years. The topics turned to the success of writers, publishing in general and in a flash of inspiration gifted me the aforementioned book (yes, I one day have delusions of publishing) as a must read.
Never a man to turn down good advice from someone with real world experience, I gladly accepted and thanked him. I have always known that to be eventually successful or at least successfully happy with what I have written will take equal parts hard work, luck and a dedication to learning the craft of storytelling. There are no shortcuts, no quick fixes and no easy roads to a possible success of a novel. In the end, if I am happy with what I have written, published or unpublished I know I have gained from the experience. Yes, I would love to see what I have written in print, however if I remain unpublished I will not stop writing, even if the only people to read my work end up being friends, family and other misguided web surfers who come across my webpage.
78 reasons is not a mind altering explanation into the mystical and secret world of publishing, it didn’t shake me to the core, mainly because I knew from the get go, this is a marathon, not a sprint. A long and hard road and one which will be all the sweeter if (big if) I make it to the end. Even if I don’t make it, the scenery and people I have meet along the way have made the journey all the better. The book offers common sense information to the realities of the getting your book published, my top being:
- Do your research and know the audience, publishers and agents you are targeting. Don’t send your fantasy novel to a publishing house who sell cook books.
- Be practical and systematic with your approach. Follow the rules, there are always rules or guidelines set out by the particular publishing house you are petitioning.
- Be professional with the people you interface with, this is their business and livelihood (they knowith of which they speak).
- Yes, believe in your work, but be willing to take on advice. Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the tress or the words from the page.
- You are the writer, this is your work, it is your child and dream. However, you do not know anything about publishing, so leave it to the professions. Would you have a bricklayer do brain surgery, no.
- This one I was kind of a surprise to read as I thought it would be a given. Never send out your manuscript after the first draft, read, edit, re-read, edit, have someone else read it, edit, and then and only then once the sight of its words makes you want to claw your own eyes out put it in a drawer for a week, month, year and after that time reread and edit. If you haven’t found any further changes you want or need to make, submit it to a publisher or agents. It is not an editors job to proofread, spell check or search for the toad of truth in the midden of your words.
- Will we make it, maybe. Will talent alone get you everything you desire, no. Understanding the nature of beast will at least keep you grounded as you move forward and make the low times acceptable.
These are the things I took from this book, the things I felt I had an initial grasp on before reading it. However, there is so much more useful information in its pages you just need to read. Did I agree with all of the points, no. Do I think I know better than someone who works in the industry, no. I would be a fool not to take advise from someone who knows that of which they speak, and I’m only a fool some of the times.