Thursday, July 10, 2014

Quit Looking For Short Cuts To Get Published

I have to say, in recent months, I have seen more and more authors who seem to think there are short cuts to getting published. There seems to be a belief that the process of getting published, either going directly to an editor, or working with an agent, is something that can be done quicker if the author cuts some corners. I thought for a while this was just me being grumpy one morning because I was out of coffee at home, but I did a little research. I went through my database and looked at the number of submissions I turned down because of the author not knowing what to do compared to the number being rejected because of "craft" issues or "plot" issues. We're talking about a 75% to 25% ratio. The vast number were due to "user error."

Nearly every week, I receive requests to be friends with "random authors" on Facebook, Linkedin and other social media. When you look at their profiles, there is a remarkable similarity. These are authors trying every non-standard approach to getting published and not trying to do things normally. These are people looking for the short cuts. Yes, I know these authors continually say "But Scott, you know these are different times now and we have to advance to new approaches." Yes, we do. I am not arguing there. But we are not talking about blatantly ignoring the guidelines editors and agents have (for a practical reason) and then criticizing because people rejected you.

About a week ago, I received a submission, via my website from one gentleman. Please note, the website does say I am closed to submissions, but he did it anyway. First of all, the story wasn't even close to being a romance or women's fiction. It was some sort of a self-help, guide to business and marketing or something like that. But here is the kicker! I have an automatic reply that says I am currently closed to submissions. He answered that reply making the statement that he didn't care if I was closed to submissions. In a "real" business, entrepreneurs would always be open and would always be interested. He then went on to argue that if I was a true agent, I would look beyond the narrow focus of romance and women's fiction and look to projects that will be successful. Um, not!

In simple terms, authors need to slow down, take your time and not do anything rash when it comes to your publishing. Sure, use social media to stay on top of things. Sure, take advantage of contests and opportunities to get your work in front of editors and agents. But quit looking for that short cut.

If you really look at the authors out there who are successful, these are people who took their time, learned the business and did not try to work outside of the system to get what they wanted. Yes, there are some exceptions, but that is all they are - exceptions. Those in it for the long haul did it because they "did it well."

No comments:

Post a Comment