Nothing succeeds like success
What I'm reading this week: In The Woods
by Tana French.
Getting published is an emotional boxing match, you versus Goliath. Unless you got an enchanted sling and rock in your backpack, expect a long, bruising battle. You pour yourself into your work, and it's so easy for an agent to say no. Once upon a time, they had to take minutes to scrawl a negative missive on your letter and stuff it into an SASE. Now with the magic of the Internet, rejection takes seconds. David Cameron performed an experiment to demonstrate how myopic the process can be
. He copied a short story published in The New Yorker
, thinking here is a work that had been vetted by the top pooch in the dog pile of American short fiction, and so it must easily pass any literary smell test. But no. Every magazine he submitted the story to, rejected it. Including The New Yorker
. What did Cameron prove? That the system was unfair? Waa, waa!
Like that's a surprise.
For the past couple of weeks, millions of computer bytes have been chewed up regarding Hugh Howey, the success of his novel Wool
, and what that means in the publishing world. Many have hyper-ventilated in their claims that Howey's experience with Kindle was a game changer for writers. Namely that us hacks no longer needed the blessing of the New York Six to make money from our work. We can all get rich self-publishing our ebooks. After all, Howey turned down seven-figure advances. But not so fast. What Howey proved was to demonstrate that old truism: If people can make money from you, they will come knocking. And, like Howey, you can turn down their deals if you got plenty of fuck you
money in your pocket. Howey hadn't done anything that others haven't tried. Some with better success than others. (A few friends have managed to quit their day jobs; others have yet to sell more than a half-dozen copies.) Howey happened to have the alignment of the stars, some luck, and a damn good story well told. Have self-pubbed ebooks changed the market? Only by 25%. That means 75% of book sales are still in traditional paper form
Though we've pimped them before, to keep the pump primed of some
deserving writers recently venturing into the self-pubbed ebook swamp, including
our own Jeanne, please patronize these offerings. If you already have
copies, then please post a review and hustle the books to your friends.
Labels: Cloud City, Hugh Howey, Mark Henry, rejection, Sea Foam, shrimping, Tana French, Wool