Steps towards – Being published

By Karen Scott

Publishers nowadays are under increasing financial pressure. They have to make a profit and to do that they must sell books. Amazingly the writer can often appear subordinate to this process and any writer who submits work that is not of a literary standard (whatever that happens to be) will be cast aside. There is no room for guidance, encouragement or tuition in this scenario. Time is always of the essence; publishers with one eye on a profit margin will not have the inclination to bring a writer up to scratch, and editorial departments are increasingly snowed under with unsuitable manuscripts. However, a good book, a well-written book, will always find a publisher. Unfortunately, these are few and far between.

Publishers have turned increasingly to agents to help them with the task of sorting the good from the bad, the marketable from the un-marketable and possibly in finding that elusive best seller. However, the situation that applies to publishers can also be said to apply to agents. They, too, are inundated with manuscripts, receiving anything from 20-100 a week. Slush piles in both camps are steadily growing and the costs of dealing with them are mounting in direct proportion.

It would appear that the blame for this could be laid at the writer’s door. However, as the writer/publisher/agent relationship is by its very nature symbiotic, then this process must always be allowed to exist. Without one the other cannot operate and vice versa. The publisher has responsibilities to the writer and vice versa. Therefore, it is important that the publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts, that they do not charge a reading fee and that agents follow suit. The relationship must never become too restrictive for either party.

The writer’s responsibility to the publishers and agents is to make sure that the work they send to them is well presented, professionally typed and that proper guidelines are followed, and above all that they send their manuscripts to the right sort of publisher. Many writers are falling short of this standard and increasing the slush-piles to unnecessary levels, which in turn forces, the publisher into refusing to accept unsolicited manuscripts. This way everyone loses.

For everyone to win the writer must take his share of the responsibility even if this means expending a little more money on decent paper, a typing course, a good word-processor, or even proper writing tuition. Very few good writers are born with a natural talent. Writing is a craft that needs to be nurtured, honed and in some cases taught. It is easy for a writer to become subjective and precious about their work. A sense of failure can go hand in hand with the inability to take advice when this is all that may be needed to restructure a manuscript, or for the writer to take steps to move in a new direction. The writer must always be looking for ways to improve, but above all they must foster a healthy sense of their own worth.

It is also important that the writer considers every avenue available to them, whether it is approaches to writing and research, or a medium such as the Internet. The writer must utilise both traditional markets and the newer more technological based media to be found on the World Wide Web, if they are going to move forward and expand their market base and their horizons.



If you would like to contact us email:

Black Expressions 4 books for $2 plus free gift