NY Giant quarterback Eli Manning getting sacked by Dallas Cowboy linebacker.

Those of you who’ve been in the writing business for awhile and have attempted to get traditionally published know what a discouraging, demeaning, difficult challenge that is.

It’s like being a quarterback on a football team with a porous offensive line.  You know you’re going to get sacked frequently.  Only in the book business, you know you’re going to get sacked on virtually every play.

Allow me to translate for those of you not in the book business.  It means when you send out a query letter or give a pitch attempting to elicit the interest of a literary agent or publisher in your work, ninety-nine percent of the time you’re going get rejected, ignored, or maybe even belittled. 

It’s part of the business.  It’s the battering you have to suffer before you heave that touchdown pass and somebody agrees to represent or publish your baby—your book.

Every once in a blue moon, however, or maybe a hundred blue moons, you may get sacked, find yourself facedown on the turf and seeing stars, then find the guy who nailed you offering a hand up and saying, “That was one of the greatest plays I’ve ever seen.”


Happened to me a few weeks ago with my newest manuscript, OREGON GRINDER.  (I’m in the agent/publisher search mode again because I realized my former agent and previous publisher weren’t going to work for this book.)  A big-name agent took a look at my manuscript and said, “Buzz, I have to tell you . . . this is really good.  I thought the writing was strong, and the story kept me going.  It’s certainly publishable.  But . . .”

You just knew there was going to be a “but,” didn’t you? 

The agent concluded, “But . . . it’s not the sort of book I represent.  I’m not sure I could land it for you.”

So, a sack is a sack, I guess, but some are easier to take than others.

Okay, time to call another play.  There’s gotta be a touchdown out there someplace.

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