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The ONE Sure Way to Publishing Success

Unveiling the Truth behind the Dream


One of the most profound truths about trying to get a book published by one of the Big 5 New York companies is this: if your proposal or manuscript is really good, it will get noticed by an agent and publisher.  


We've all heard about the rejections received by a few bestselling authors before they got published. Any literary agent or book publisher can be short-sighted when reviewing a submission; however, if the material has a fresh voice and an original subject (or a new take on a classic and timeless theme), and if the descriptive prose and narrative techniques are masterful, eventually, there will be another agent and editor out there who will snap it up.


There are some truths that are overlooked in the telling of the "first rejection, and then, success" stories:


** They are told in past tense.  After initial disappointment, these authors went on to receive contracts, and were published to bestselling glory by agents and editors who loved their work.   


 ** The number of exceptional manuscripts that might be overlooked is extremely small given the deluge of unviable queries and/or manuscripts and/or proposals that literary agents receive and review every day.


** So the question you must ask yourself is this: if your query letter does not garner requests for additional material, or if your book proposal or manuscript is rejected again and again, is it really because the literary agents' or publishers' have overlooked the inherent quality and potential of your work?  


If so, you are assuming that your query, proposal, and/or manuscript is of the same quality as the first manuscripts of bestselling authors, such as John Grisham, James Patterson, Stephen King, and J.K. Rowling, whose first books were initially rejected by numerous agents and publishers.


** Or could it be possible that your query or submission is, in fact, one of the vast majority that is weak, even fatally flawed?  


Writers should be skeptical of admonitions from anyone, including the organizers of writers' conferences, who say or imply that "'receiving an onslaught of rejections' is simply 'part of the business', so brace yourself!"

Over the years, I was a regular panelist, workshop leader and/or key speaker at more writers' conferences than I can count.  At each one, there was never more that one writer from the two previous years' conferences who was held up as an example of notable publishing success. Nonetheless, looking across the packed room of 300 to 1000 eager faces at the current conference, I sensed that they all felt that their book had the potential to be the next success story at upcoming conferences.   


Although it is a sobering reality that the vast majority of writers receive rejection letters from literary agents, it does not follow that their queries or submissions were rejected for no reason. 


But don't give up, just delve into the wonderful world of revisions and make your query letter and manuscript as strong and irresistible as they can be!







DSH. pen photo.JPG

"There is no good writing;

 there is only good rewriting."  

William Styron             

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