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Getting a Book Published: Don't Sell Yourself Short

Aug 18, 2007
Getting a book published by a commercial royalty paying publishing house is a tremendous accomplishment. It has been said by Writers Digest that 24 million Americans consider themselves 'writers' and yet less than 5% have published anything. There are only about 200,000 new titles published each year.

When we surveyed literary agents, they said they agree to accept only one out of every 500 writers for representation. The most common reason they decline to represent a writer is poor quality of the writing. You know what didn't even show up on the radar as a reason to decline a new client? The fact the writer was unpublished.

About 15% of novels published by the commercial royalty paying publishing houses are debut novels. About 20,000 new novels are published each year. That means 3,000 authors get their first novel published every year.

There is hope for new writers. There is no bias in the industry against new authors. There are just millions more writers trying to get published than the book industry can support. And it's not the publishers or even the booksellers who are holding back the flood gates. There isn't a conspiracy against unknown authors. The writers themselves are to blame, they're just not good enough. Getting a book published depends on the quality of the book and its marketability.

If the quality isn't there the book won't be published. Bad writing is the number one reason why acquisition editors at publishing houses decline a manuscript.

Think about it. There are millions of people who play golf, but only a handful of golfers who are good enough to be professional.

Millions of people sing, but only a few are good enough to sing professionally.

Millions of people dance, but few, very few, have the talent to dance professionally.

Getting a book published is not an entitlement. Authors aren't published because they deserve to be published, because they worked hard or because they have survived misery and abuse. Books are published because the publisher has deemed there is a viable market for the work.

Does every good book get published? No. Are the best selling books the best telling books? No. Are authors who have been published better writers than those who haven't been? Not necessarily. But they do have the badge of being considered good enough for a publisher to pay them money for their writing.

Don't sell yourself short. Hold out for a real commercial publisher.
About the Author
Avoid scams. Get our complimentary report Perils and Pitfalls of Publishing for Writers visit Report Dee Power is the author of The Publishing Primer: A Blueprint for an Author's Success
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