Jon Gibbs (jongibbs) wrote,
Jon Gibbs

  • Mood:

The truth at last! Six reasons why getting an agent/publisher really is down to luck.

A few years back, when I first started to think about writing a book, I heard the rumor that (unless you’re already famous for something else) getting published in today’s world was a numbers game. Whether or not an agent or publisher takes a chance on a new author is down to luck. It depends almost entirely on knowing the right person and/or being in the right place at the right time.
At first, I dismissed the notion out of hand, but the idea gnawed at my sub-conscious. What if I was wrong? After all, so many people seemed to think it was true. I decided to check it out, just in case.
It’s taken me several years of exhaustive study. I’ve researched hundreds of published authors. I read interviews with them, perused their online journals, listened to them talk on panels, even chatted with a few in person, all with a view to disproving the notion that getting published was down to luck.
Boy was I wrong.

To my utter astonishment, I came to realize that getting a book published really is entirely down to providence. What’s even more astounding is that you need not just one, but six strokes of incredible good fortune before you can ever hope to see your work accepted by the traditional agent publisher.
Being the helpful fellow I am, I’ve decided to share my findings here, to save the future blushes of any poor sap who shares the romantic notion that a writer controls his/her own destiny. 
Six reasons why getting an agent/publisher really is down to luck: 
1: You have to be fortunate enough to come up with a great idea for a story as well as inventing character(s) which you can mould into a high-quality, novel-length piece of fiction. 
2: By sheer fluke, you have to be the sort of person who’s naturally immune to the dread writer’s disease known as excusitis and possess the inner fortitude to do what it takes to get that first draft of yours finished. 
3: You need to be blessed with the intelligence to realize that when you do finally get to type ‘THE END’ you’re really still quite near the beginning. 
4: By an almost impossible coincidence, you need to not only understand the value of critique groups and the sage advice offered by successful writers in ‘How to’ books, on the internet, and at critique groups/workshops etc, you also have to possess the good sense to seek them out and be able to sort the useful from the not so useful. 
5: Even if, by some fluke, you somehow manage to get through those four stages, fate still needs to deal you a hand which includes the ability to appreciate the need to spend quality time working on your synopsis and query letter, followed by thorough research about where best to pitch your novel.  
6: Lastly, by a sheer accident of birth, you need to NOT be the sort of arrogant, pig-headed nitwit who’s so full of his/her importance that nobody wants to work with you. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Do I need all six of these lucky breaks to get my novel accepted, or could I get away with just five?
To tell you the truth, with all the exciting changes going on in the publishing world these days, I’m not even sure about that my own self, but seeing as how a failure to get your book published might just blow your writing dream clean out of the water, the question you’ve got to ask yourself is: “Do I feel lucky?” 

Well? Do ya?

If you liked this one, you might also enjoy the follow up post: 
Tags: fiction, writing

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

← Ctrl ← Alt
Ctrl → Alt →
← Ctrl ← Alt
Ctrl → Alt →