I get up this morning, fix breakfast, sit down with it and open the newspaper up to read. And I immediately throw the paper away and dump the breakfast in the trash in disgust.

The first story I read is a about a college student, about to graduate as an elementary teacher, getting a publishing contract from a major publisher. Her first time trying to write something and she gets a contract!

What really pissed me off was she wasn't trying to get published! Her professor gave the class an assignment to write a children's book. She did--and was awarded with a major contract.

And here I've been trying to get a major publisher to look at me since the year after the biblical Eve started wearing dresses! I'm tellin'ya, it's enough to make a grown man want to camel hair shirt and go eat locusts out in the desert.

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Comment by Neil Nyren on March 9, 2009 at 10:35pm
B.R., you may wish there were a queue, but there isn't, never has been. It's not just writing. Go talk to anyone in any of the creative professions. Music, theatre, dance -- go tell them that the amount of time they've spent waiting should somehow guarantee them something, and watch them fall about laughing.
Comment by Eric Christopherson on March 9, 2009 at 12:23pm
What's the point of your queue, B. R., when one's position, or length of time spent standing in it, is irrelevant?
Comment by B.R.Stateham on March 9, 2009 at 11:18am

Allow me to politely disagree with the 'queing' idea. There is a que. That que is built by writers who keep writing and keep submitting, and rejected, and writing some more and getting rejected some more.

Wasn't it Margaret Mitchell who wrote Gone With The Wind? How many times did she que up with agents and publishers before she finally was published?


I don't think she submitted anything--her professor either did, or strongly urged her to submit. And yeah, I am open to the idea that my talent isn't 'top drawer.' But it's in the 'second-to-top-drawer' and hugging top-drawer around the curve!

How many times did J.K. Rowling que up before she was published? Or Stephan King?
Comment by Neil Nyren on March 9, 2009 at 2:06am
Here's the thing: There is no queue in publishing. You don't take a number, and then when it's called, you get a contract. Neither is "publishing" a monolith, all of whose members confer together and decide upon whom to anoint a contract. It's a great big, very messy, assortment of editors and agents and others, all with very divergent tastes. I've had success with books a lot of colleagues have disliked; other publishers have done well with books I haven't cared about. It's all about getting the right ms to the right person at the right time. It only takes one person with passion for your work.
Comment by Clair Dickson on March 9, 2009 at 1:59am
1. If she wasn't "trying" to get published, then she wouldn't have submitted anything. So what if this was the "first" thing she wrote or not. Some people are natural story tellers.

2. You sound bitter and jealous. If this is not your intention... well... a good writer can always get across what they really mean.

3. Sorry you've had such a hard time getting published. Have you ever considered short stories? Many online zines have fantastic editors who will work with writers who show promise and talent. It's a great way to get editorial feedback on one's work. Also you might look for one or more people to critique your work... sometimes we writers are too close to our work to see where it fails.

4. Many people who think they have talent... are not as good as they think they are. Just watch American Idol for a whole bunch of folks who think they're fantastic singers! Writers are plagued by the same sentiments.
Comment by Eric Christopherson on March 9, 2009 at 12:55am
But it's hard to avoid luck in the long run if you have both talent and perseverance.
Comment by B.R.Stateham on March 8, 2009 at 8:31pm
I am quite sure this young girl did write a good children's story! That's not the point. The point is how fickle the industry is in choosing who gets published. Some talented writers try for years and never make it. And here is this kid--who wasn't even trying to get published--succeeding the first time out.

I suppose my point was; getting published has only a moderate level of talent needed, but a substantial amount of LUCK is required.
Comment by Clair Dickson on March 8, 2009 at 5:20am
I guess it's a good thing I'm not published and don't have a hefty advance... I'm probably too young and too busy and too whatever for a big advance. =(

I don't think 6-figure advances are helping the publishing industry since few of those large advances ever earn out, though.

I'm happy that she has written a book that a publisher likes. I hope that I can do the same.

Publishing takes skill, perseverance, and luck. For her, those clearly aligned early on. I'm not jealous. I'm happy for her. I will continue to improve my skill, continue to persevere and hope that the luck that brought my a fantastic husband will show up again in regards to my novel(s).
Comment by I. J. Parker on March 8, 2009 at 4:19am
Comment by Neil Nyren on March 8, 2009 at 3:34am
Come on, guys, listen to yourselves. You've got no reason to believe that she's "pretty," "nubile" or "undeserving." Did you consider that just maybe she wrote a pretty good children's book?

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