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I just read a fascinating article about making it in traditional publishing. It’s both illuminating and disheartening. And completely unsurprising.

The thing is, most of us have a good story or two (at least) to tell. Many of us would love the opportunity to tell them, especially if we made a few bucks doing it. And of these, there’s a pretty good percentage that actually sit down and make an effort of a draft. How many of these are decent writers, I couldn’t say, but the end result is an enormous number of unpublished works. I dare say that a fair number of these would sell, at least respectably, if promoted properly.

Some could see this as condemnation of traditional publishing, and supporting independent publishing. But the thing is, that this doesn’t solve the problem. We use publishers (even before the days of print-on demand and e-books) as much for marketing expertise as for gatekeepers. Trying to get your name out there and get published is no easier, and probably harder. Yes, you can guarantee that your book gets published. Maybe you can even assume that you’ll get a couple of sales. But there aren’t any more people “making it” this way than with traditional publishing.

In the end, no matter what path authors take, their sales are as dependent on luck as hard work and talent.

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One Comment

  1. This was a very interesting read. I read something similar to this. Someone took a very well-known story from the New Yorker and sent it to several magazines, including the New Yorker, and all of them rejected it. It’s a funny world we live in, eh?


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