Thursday, October 17, 2013

You Only Need This Tool To Be Truly Successful In Publishing

I started thinking about this last night when it seemed a lot of the things I heard at a recent conference combined with some thoughts I was having about an upcoming conference and reading reviews in the latest Romantic Times Magazine. It seems that many in the publishing industry proclaim to have the ultimate solution to being successful in the business of publishing.

We hear those supporting the idea of dumping traditional publishing entirely. Others claim the success stems from the query letter. Others yell of marketing and successful blogging. It seems that writers are desperate to find this easy fix, much the same way that so many people run to their local drug store or vitamin supplement story to find the latest "Dr. Oz solution to weight loss."

Unfortunately, all of these people are wrong. Today, ladies and gentlemen. I bring to you the real solution. The ultimate answer you have all been looking for to be successful in this business of publishing.

But, before I do, let me say that many of these people who have come before me are not necessarily wrong. Great marketing, a good query letter, finding the right publisher and so forth are indeed great approaches that will certainly enhance that career of yours. They are not wrong! But, at the same time, they are not entirely correct either.

I see you are still wanting me to divulge the true answer to your success in publishing.

I present to you.... the solution.

Write a good book.

That's right. You have to write a great book. Let me say, however, that there are some things we have to remember when I say this.

  • I am not saying to write a book that gets publicity because people said "I have to read this to figure out all of the hype about it." Books like this are getting attention because people are curious and not necessarily because it is good.
  • I am not saying to write a story that has a great character. We're talking about the full book here. All 300 + pages of text and not just those moments when the character walks on stage.
  • I am not saying to write great dialogue. Remember there is a thing called narration that goes along with it. There needs to be a balance.
There is a reason why editors and agent say the same thing every time they are asked what they look for in a submission. We want a good book, with a great story, great characters and a great message. Translation? A GOOD BOOK!

As I looked at all of the poor reviews in the RT Magazine, I can clearly see why the review said what it did? It wasn't just some "negative and subjective reviewer who didn't know her butt from a hot rock." It was, in all likelihood a book that was far from good.

Think writers! The answer is right in front of your eyes.


  1. It's easy to get caught up in the business side of publishing...the blogging, the tweeting, the facebooking, the "branding", the querying. But I want to believe it's the craft that matters. It's the way it should be. I hope that's true.

    Yet I'm still going to tend to the "business" side of publishing and "market" myself and my manuscript as best I can...just in case. A new author really needs to cover all bases, I think, as she looks for her break.

  2. Yet J.K. Rowling's book written under a pen name and selling modestly was just as good a book before her identity was uncovered as after.

  3. Of course the branding and marketing are necessary but if you don't have a good product it won't matter in the end. :)