One of the best things about the Internet is that it’s so easy to find information. One of the worst things about the Internet . . . is that it’s so easy to find information.
Much of the information is misinformation. So let’s bust some myths.
Myth: Getting published is a catch-22. You need to be published in order to get an agent; but you can’t get published without having an agent first.
Truth: You don’t need to be published to get an agent. Getting published is hard, but is not a catch-22. We need fresh voices, so there are always new authors getting published. Have you noticed that most agents accept queries? Query letters are most often from unpublished authors, since published authors will typically come through a referral or personal relationship. Agents rely on those queries to help them discover new authors.
Myth: You have to have an “in” to get an agent or a publisher. It isn’t what you know but who you know.
Truth: While having an “in” helps, and networking can be quite effective, it’s not necessary nor is it the only way to break in. Many agents and publishers take on new writers through queries.
Myth: If you want a big publisher, get published at small presses first and work your way up.
Truth: While this can work, it’s not the best strategy. With a small publisher, your books may have modest sales figures, which may make it impossible for you to get a big publisher later. However, sometimes a small publisher is right for you, and can be a good home for you long-term.
Myth: A good story with good characters and strong writing will eventually find success with a traditional publisher.
Truth: There is a good deal of mystery, serendipity and luck involved in getting published, and once you’re there, the level of success can be unpredictable. A great book may or may not find a publisher, and if it does, it might be modestly to wildly successful, or it might not live up to expectations.
Myth: Once you sign with an agent, the hard work is done.
Truth: The hard work is just beginning! Most agents will crack the whip—push you to make your manuscript the best it can be, encourage you to build your platform, etc. There will also be the “hard work” of waiting for the submission process to play out, and once you’re contracted you’ll be working harder than you ever imagined.
Myth: Getting an agent means you’ll get published.
Truth: Sadly, getting an agent is no guarantee of publication. Each agent has a different success rate but most probably don’t bat 1000.
Myth: Agents are snarky, scary, and mean, and love rejecting you.
Truth: This, of course, is true.
Is there anything you’ve heard about publishing that you don’t know whether is true or not? Let me know and I’ll see if I can bust some more myths.
Getting published is a catch-22 – myth or fact? Click to Tweet.
Agents are snarky, scary, and mean – myth or fact? Click to Tweet.
Once you sign with an agent, the hard work is done. Myth or fact? Click to Tweet.
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