Tuesday, April 15, 2014

There Are Not "Certain Things" in the Business of Publishing

First of all, let me brag a bit. The blog has just been awarded one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers by Writer's Digest. I have to say, much of this award also goes to you as the readers.Your inspiration and certainly your questions really do keep this blog going. WTG everyone!!

Now, on with the Blog...

I was thinking about this over the weekend when I took a great day trip with the family to Seattle. Walking through Barnes and Noble (ahhh, it felt so good to be in a bookstore and not one of those virtual digital things) I looked around at all the books on the shelves and the tables. Just think. These authors spent a lot of time and energy on their books, researching editing and writing their babies just to get to this point. Some were on the NEW ARRIVALS shelf. Some were on the BEST SELLER list. Some were on the BARGAIN SHELVES. And some were on the the shelves with a ton of other books.

And this was just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many authors out there busting their butts on their books and in the end, the success or failure of their book is probably 100% up to fate. I have said, time and time again here on the blog that your story has to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right person. And yet, even then there is no promise your book will make it.

As agents, and I know editors do the same thing, we read a story and believe in it. We fall for a project or we fall for the voice of an author, but in the end, we cannot ever promise to be able to sell that book to an editor, or that the editor and the entire support team of the publisher can sell that book. It all depends. This is nothing more than a huge gamble on a writer.

This does not mean you give up though. Those authors we hear about that are overnight successes are few and far between. They are the anomalies. They are the exception to the rule. This does not mean you cannot be one of those exceptions so you have to keep trying.

I just want you to remember, if you do hear of someone telling you "this is a sure thing" or if they proclaim "their agent is a certainty for selling your book" or that this approach to marketing your book will lead to a certain success, think twice. Play with the idea and consider it, but do not just think it will ALWAYS happen.


  1. Congratulations! on your award. Your blog deserves it.
    Kate M

  2. Congratulations, Scott! I love Writer's Digest, and put a lot of stock in their Best Websites for Writers list.