Publishers and Agents aren’t Completely at Fault

Okay. So I ragged on publishers and agents. And it’s all true what I said. But now I shall take their side.

What is it they see coming at them? I’ll tell you: A river of substandard material, that’s what.

And by substandard, I don’t mean publishers and agents say the writing is brilliant but they disagree with the content. No, no, no. Let me be clear about this.

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I mean the writing stinks.

I should know. I’ve turned down editing gigs because authors gave no thought to the reader and what they sent me was so bad they could not afford for me to fix it. And I couldn’t fix it without rewriting it because that’s how badly thought was given to it. And I couldn’t rewrite it because I couldn’t figure out what it was about.

Why are we all doing this? To sell a book.
Who buys books? Readers.
Who is not servicing readers well? Could it be you?

Look, the creative process is a chanteuse. She’ll sing to you and tell you how awesome you are and you’ll believe it. But the chanteuse sings to a lot of people, and most of them aren’t awesome, and even more people aren’t willing to take what raw talent they do have and work on it to become awesome. So we have a lot of people feeling creative, and they mistake the feeling for fact.

The fact of the matter is this: Most books aren’t going to sell because they suck.

And it’s not just the word choice that sucks, but the punctuation has no consisentency and spelling is horrendous, but the story falls apart at the first sneeze. Even well written, beautifully designed, awesomely edited books, self-published or traditionally published, often don’t sell enough to recoup an investment of time.

Tell me why anyone would buy your book?

Is it any wonder that publishers and agents make it so hard to get their attention? Which is not to say they can’t improve on how they operate, because they can. But at least give them something to work with here, people.

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