Is There A Secret To Getting Published?

I don’t think so.

Many would like to think there is. Oh, you know, secret handshake, follow all these specific (5! 10! 20! Et cetera!) steps, and, voila!, your manuscript (ms) will be published!

Now, I don’t want to do anyone a disservice out there who’s teaching these courses, but from what I’ve noticed over the years, it doesn’t always matter if a book is, you know—good. And, no, I’m not going to give examples. We’ve all seen them. What seems to matter—really matter—is if that book somehow (<fill in the blank>) grabs the money behind the ms. And following that, as Mitch Albom put it in an article in October 2009’s Writer’s Digest (and got me back into this blog topic), readers just want to read. It’s the publishers and writers who “…make more of fiction and nonfiction, memoir versus novel, than the average reader does.”

Manuscripts (mss) (I’m going to go out on a limb and say), don’t always have to be grammatically perfect. Fit each and every of the 5! 10! and 20! steps it takes to GET PUBLISHED. What it takes, is having something the Money Peeps feel they can make money off of, ergo, people buying it.

(Just wanting to read….)

Now, I’m sure I’ve probably pissed off some folks, but that’s not my intent—but it is my opinion.

This also does not mean writers should not do their damnedest to write and present their best mss, Or that agents and editors should not scarf up only the best mss. It does not—and it should not—be the case. But it should be something that those in “control” can earn some dough off of.

So, should a writer “have” to do anything in writing a ms? Do a certain pacing, have a certain something on every page?

They should give the story, the gestalt effort, their best shot. And if the writing stinks, then the story damn-well better grab ya…and vice versa.

Do. Their. Best.

There’s no harm and it should be a given that writers do their best, but sometimes their best isn’t good enough. Sometimes books fail. Writers fail. And that’s just the way it is. I don’t think it is solely based upon whether or not a book is perfect crafted or edited or any other “perfectly.” Sometimes the magic works…and sometimes it don’t.

Note:  I will be attending the Mile Hi Con Saturday, October 24. I’ll be participating on a Using Dreams In Your Writing panel at 10 a.m., in the Mesa Verde B room, at Hyatt Regency – Tech Center, 7800 E. Tufts Avenue, Denver, CO. I also hope to be setting up a book signing for Sleepwalkers. Hope to see you there!

About fpdorchak

Upmarket paranormal fiction author. I write gritty, Twilight Zone-like fiction. Please check out my website:! Thank you for stopping by!
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7 Responses to Is There A Secret To Getting Published?

  1. DeAnna says:

    Throwing down the gauntlet, eh?

    You, Frank P. Dorchak, are WRONG. Pure, D, wrong. Writing something the money people think the reading people want to read is NOT the answer.

    Writing something the reading people want to read is the answer. The money people won’t buy a million copies of your book. They’ll buy two.

    What puzzles me is, what is the writer’s “best”? Where’s the line of good enough? I notice you don’t spell that out, either.

    I want ANSWERS. STOP avoiding the QUESTION.

  2. fpdorchak says:

    Oh, no, didn’t mean writing TO the Bean Counters. I meant that the Bean Counters will only purchase that which they feel they can make money off of. Writers write what they need and want to write about. The problem is that buying rights is a buisness and no matter how good your work may be, if publishing houses don’t feel they can make money off you, they’ll pass. That’s what I was trying to say.

    As to what’s “the best,” I can’t answer that. I’ve seen well-written words with absolutely no solid story behind it get published. Seen the reverse. The best is what an author can do with their own talents, whether it’s Zen, well-crafted text, outstanding content and imagery…it is whatever they can “bring”…wherever their superpowers are….

    And, really, if there WAS a secret, wouldn’t the irony be that everyone already would have found out about it (it being a course out there) and everyone taking that course being published? That just isn’t happening. “Doing your best,” IMHO, is subjective.

    Hope I helped clarify….

  3. DeAnna says:

    No, I don’t mean an objective “best” – a goal like “no grammatical errors” or “all characters and settings have descriptions” – that check-the-box list.

    How’s a writer to know, in their heart of hearts, they’ve written their best? Subjectively?

    My personal guess –

    You’ve written something you care about so deeply that when people tell you there’s something wrong with it, you’re willing to stop caring about how you wrote it to listen to their opinions as readers.

  4. fpdorchak says:

    That’s a good start, but I don’t think there’s ever a definitive answer. I’ve read manuscripts that people gave me and thought were well written, and I didn’t think they were. I’m sure the reserve has also happened. Writing is art, and like all art, it is highly personal.

    So, you just have to keep doing what you feel you have to do, and hope that you get better and are worth the effort you’re putting out. Or you just happen to catch a publishing house’s eye as something they can make money from.

    And I’m not trying to dump on all those who are published. It’s just an observation I made. There are many, many well-written books out there, but I also feel the reverse is true. Why is that? Not sure. Low budgets so they don’t get the attention they should because of bigger names? I don’t know. I am really not trying to slight anyone’s efforts or make excuse for my own efforts. I’m just saying that I have noticed what I noticed, and wondered if anyone else had, and wanted to get some feedback–to which I thank my worthy opponent!

    BTW, I’m home sick, unable to make the drive up to Mile Hi Con. But posted a blog on some thigns I was going to say. I’m sure those up there wouldn’t want to be around me, either, but was so looking forward to it….

  5. Hmmm… you could try being the heiress to a hotel fortune. Or a former president impeached (but acquitted) for his cigar handling. Or maybe just somebody who never, ever, gave up.

    I think there is a secret, Frank. And I think it is a secret that EVERYONE already knows… but not everyone has the stamina.

    Still pluggin’

  6. fpdorchak says:

    HUGE grin….

  7. Pingback: Don’t Get It?! « Runnin Off at the Mouth….

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