To all you eager, new―and as yet unknown―authors who have finally finished your manuscript, welcome to the world of publishing, where dreams come true, and fame and fortune are only a book tour away. Or perhaps not! Let me see…how do I break this to you gently? Not one single literary agent will have anything to do with you. At most, your query letter will trigger a form rejection response as cold and pitiless as an IRS audit notice. And you can forget about sending your manuscript to any of the Big Six publishing houses. To them, you are lower than rust on the third rail in the subway, and equally untouchable.
However, I doubt that these brutal facts will deter you from pursuing your dream, nor should they. So as you embark on this journey, let me just share with you a few words of caution about the liars, leeches and losers who populate the world of publishing.
Let’s start with the first group of liars―your friends and family―albeit well-meaning ones. In your heart, you know that you have not written the next great American novel but you still think your book is pretty good. Damn good in fact! You know this because your friends and relatives absolutely loved it. The harsh reality is that they care about you and they are simply not going to give you their honest opinion.
Next come the leeches who also happen to be liars. These are the self-publishing companies who, for a price, will not only use Print-On-Demand technology to publish your book; but also for a much, much larger price (here comes the bloodsucking part) will offer to market your book. This includes a whole range of services from sending out press releases, to running ads in the New York Times Sunday Book Review, and even engaging the services of a so-called Hollywood “agent” who will get your book in front of movie producers (Yes. Just like a pothole is in front of their Mercedes). There are exceptions but for the most part these companies could care less about making your book successful; they are only interested in one book―your pocketbook. And the so-called services they offer are not worth the paper their one-sided contacts are written on. So be careful. Before you sign with one of them, Google them and read what others think.
And finally, we get to the losers of the publishing world who―you guessed it―are also leeches and liars. These are the traditional publishing houses. They are losers because their obsession with the bottom line makes them blind to the admittedly small but growing number of truly talented new writers whose work deserves to recognized. They are also leeches and liars because for all their holier-than-thou attitude toward self-published books, they have started acquiring the self-publishing companies mentioned above, with the sole intention of harvesting the few indie authors who do make it on their own and offering them a contact. Profit without effort.
But don’t despair, all is not lost. If your book is good, and if you have had it professionally edited, and if your cover was designed by someone who does that for a living, and finally, if you publish it through one of the reputable self-publishing services, then maybe, just maybe, you will succeed as an author. And after it is published, don’t forget to submit it to us. If your book meets all of the ‘ifs” listed above then it will likely pass muster among our readers. And perhaps one day you will see it sitting proudly on our website, along with all the other excellent self-published books that have received our B.R.A.G. Medallion.