Finding a publisher

eople have asked me occasionally how I go about finding a publisher. For fiction, such as EYEWALL, it ain’t easy. First of all, if you have aspirations of playing in the big leagues, that is, of being published by a major publisher, you need a literary agent. That’s the only route to the Random Houses, Doubledays and Dells. You can’t just throw a manuscript over a transom and expect some overworked editor’s eyes to light up. No way. The next stop for your “baby” would be the recycling bin.

So then, an agent. Trying to entice one to represent you, especially if you’re an unpublished novelist, is about as easy as selling SUVs these days. Debut novels typically don’t turn a profit. And if a book doesn’t make much money, neither does an agent.

The book publishing industry is dominated by seven conglomerates, the so-called Seven Sisters of Publishing, and they’re interested in only–guess what–the bottom line.

Agents don’t like that, and writers surely don’t, but that’s the way it is. I understand [he says reluctantly]. I mean, if you have a choice between a new novel by your favorite author (say John Grisham, James Patterson or Janet Evanovich) or Buzz Bernard, whose book are you going to buy? Yeah, don’t tell me.

Thus, it becomes a classic Catch 22. You can’t find an agent (or at least it’s damn hard) unless you’re published, and you can’t get published unless you have an agent.

So, how do you get an agent? That’ll be the topic of my next blog.

Photo: My summer writing uniform
I write in my upstairs study.  In the summer, it gets really hot up there, over 80 degrees.  Shorts and tee shirts are definitely in order.

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