Publishing

Dealing with rejections

If you try to get your worked published through a conventional publisher you will amass a large number of rejections. Initially it is difficult not to take these as a personal affront. But you will need to be fairly detached about this. The important thing to remember is that they are not personal and are not a judgement about you as an individual. They may not even be a judgement about your piece of work; it may simply not have been what the publisher was looking for at that time. There is also a danger that your piece, for whatever reason, did not catch the editors interest sufficiently to look at it in detail, or even at all. Donņt bother placing specks of dust in the manuscript to find out if it has been read - thereņs a good chance it hasnņt and you will just need to get over this.

Sometimes an editor will give some information about why your submission was rejected, and this can be a very useful source of information. For example, the editor might indicate that the work needs more editing. Or the editor might indicate exactly what they were looking for. You may also need to review the way your submission was packaged; was the cover letter professional, were the enclosures appropriate, does this publisher only accept submissions through agents?

Publishing Dangers

For some reason the publishing industry seems to have more than its fair share of con artists and fraudsters. It must be said that the scams are only a tiny proportion of the industry, but their main target is new and inexperienced authors. The most likely reason is the vast number of new manuscripts and the relatively small number of genuine literary agents and publishers. Only the creme-de-la-creme make it through the screening process, so there is always a large number of authors who are desperate to get published.

Most of these fraudsters use the tactic of flattery, telling the first-time author that their new novel shows great promise, and that a movie deal may be just around the corner. After a long series of depressing rejections these words will be music to the ears of an aspiring author, and they know it. This gives them the opportunity to sell worthless editing services, overpriced poor quality printing services, or publicity and representation of dubious value. The spectrum includes outright fraud where money is obtained by deception at one extreme, to otherwise genuine publishing services that are just not very good value for money or innapropriate.

Before entering into an agreement or investing money in literary agents, editors or publishers, we suggest you check the excellent "Writer Beware" website of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Inc.