More Help with Busting Those Crazy Publishing Myths
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Publishing Confidential II
Five Persistent Publishing MythsFacts can be annoyingly unpleasant. People would much rather believe a myth. Even if that myth will not serve them at all. Even if the facts, unpleasant as they are, will serve them quite well.
And because the book publishing industry makes absolutely no sense from the outside looking in (and, let's face it, no sense from the inside looking out, either), writers and authors just can't believe even the most basic facts about how it operates.
That just serves to strengthen the myths and mask the facts.
Unfortuntately, many of these myths are perpetrated by those who work in the industry who operate on fear and with an appalling lack of common sense.
So, for everyone looking from the outside in, as well as from the inside out, here are five of a seemingly endless stream of persistent publishing myths -- explained and debunked:
1) You can miss your deadlines, your publisher can put your book on hold and, miraculously, your book will still be released on it's original publication date.
I hear you laughing. You can't believe that anyone could be so oblivious to the basic principle of cause and effect.
2) Publishers aren't buying (fill in the blank).
News flash: Publishers, in general, follow trends, so they may be buying more or less of any particular genre at a given time, but it's simply not true that publishers have stopped buying any particular one of them. Especially those publishers and imprints that specialize in those genres.
Recently, an agent was told by a publishing industry insider that publishers had stopped buying self-help books. So, that agent turned down a self-help author who has a great platform and many published titles. Does it get any stranger than that? If there's one genre that will never slow down, much less die, it's self-help. Yet, the agent believed the insider. In publishing, fear often overrules common sense.
3) Writing a blog is a quick, easy, guaranteed way for anyone to get a book deal.
There are millions and millions of blogs and bloggers. An extremely small handful of those bloggers get a book deal in any given year. You do the math. The odds are better that you'll be hit by lightning while writing your blog.
Even so, keep writing. It may be extremely rare, and it may not be quick, easy, or guaranteed, but a blog can get the attention of publishers.
4) Print is dead.
This will no doubt be debated for many years to come while, ironically, books continue to be printed on paper.
5) Everyone can have a book published by a publisher.
Common sense can tell you this isn't true, but common sense is largely MIA these days.
A recent example that sounds extreme but, alas, is pretty common: A would-be author wrote a book in very broken English because English isn't his native language. He's a recluse and doesn't want to do anything, I repeat, anything someone would have to do to get an agent or a publisher, or to promote a book once it's published. Neither does he want to write the book in his native language and have it translated.
What does he want? He wants someone to handle everything for him that's involved with getting his mess of a manuscript into print with a publishing house. He has no money to pay for any of this assistance, of course. People should be willing to do all of this for him for free.
Apparently, like so many other people, he erroneously believes that having a book published is now a birthright.
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Read Nina's previous article on the subject, Publishing Confidential: 7 Big Lies Exposed.
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Nina L. Diamond is a journalist, essayist, and the author of Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers & Healers. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Omni, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, and The Miami Herald.
Ms. Diamond was a writer and performer on Pandemonium, the National Public Radio (NPR) satirical humor program, for its entire run in Miami and select markets nationwide from 1984-1998. As an editor, she works frequently with other authors and journalists on both fiction and non-fiction.