Guestpost #58: Kevin Newman – Ten things I’ve learned from trying to get published

Newman is a storyman: author of Fey Girl and All Night by the Rose, in addition to being an eclectic blogger on his website www.voxnewman.com.

  1. Publishers and agents think that your work is a subjective experience, which is a fair assessment.  They also think that way about your query letter.  Not so sure that’s the best idea.
  2. Trying to track down the information on agents and publishers is exhausting and research-intensive.  Figuring out how they want you to go about querying them is even more work.  The entire process takes up more of your time and energy than it takes to write a novel.
  3. The expected rejections (I’m led to believe that they range from 50 up, and I expect 99) are not as bad as some have led you to believe.  In fact, they are about as benign as spam since a person did not reject you, but a legal team and their handy form-letter Responsonator 2000.
  4. You spend a lot of time trying to track down the above people, but their robots act as gatekeepers.  In the meantime you are also desperately seeking your audience.  That might be one person and her name might be Susan.  And she might be on a forum about literary-type thingamajigs.  Probably not, though.
  5. While you wait for rejections for your novel, you also submit short stories to magazines and wait even longer for their rejections, which is weird considering the advantage is not the tiny amount of cash you might get, but perhaps finding some of your audience and having bragging rights on your query letter.  Oh, you’ll end up with more rejections from that group, but it won’t really count for anything.
  6. So, while you run around trying to get published, you decide to self-publish so you can at least ‘get yourself out there’.  There is a stigma attached to this.  So you avoid specifically calling out your novel as self published.
  7. What you end up doing is releasing all your previous short stories as a collected eBook.  This will work out, since the work involved in trying to get them published in magazines doesn’t seem worth the tiny amount of money you’d make.  And since that seems to be the case, you make the eBook free.
  8. Now you have to market that eBook.  That’s more work.  Also, it costs a little bit of money (or a lot if you want a bonanza).
  9. Suddenly, the title you want ‘writer’ seems to be hyphenated to researcher-administrator-marketer.  And the much hoped for title of novelist, seems to slip further into the future.
  10. Then you start writing a new novel.  Lather, rinse repeat.

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