There is reason to hope (for publication)

It’s tempting to think the end is upon us because someone is going to publish One Direction fan fiction.  Or because 50 Shades of Grey and its sequels are dominating the bestseller lists.

But I assure you there is still hope!  The fact that these books have been or will be published and are doing well are actually good signs.  It means people are still reading books.  And someone out there is still willing to spend money publishing books by new authors.

Yes, it’s probably true that no one will learn anything deep and meaningful about themselves from reading those books.  (They’re not exactly Tolstoy.)  But people read them.  And then people think, “I kinda like reading books,” and they want more.  And when they want more, then publishers publish more.

(Or publishers have money from publishing those types of books to take risks on publishing other types of books.  Like yours.  Or mine.  Although mine is soooo 50 Shades of Grey.  Minus the sex, the central relationship, the real world setting, the….yeah.  Just kidding.)

But what does this mean for you and me?  Opportunity.

I realize I’m still in the early phases of my writerly journey and my attitude may change in the next eight plus years it takes me to get published, but it gives me hope to walk into a bookstore or library and see all the new books.

I spent a lot of time at the library when I was trying to sell the house.  And there were hundreds of new books on the shelves.  Hundreds.  New books.  Just published.  Some by authors I’d never heard of.

Sure, some were blatant attempts to ride a wave.  (Hunger Games cookbook anyone?  “Gee, yeah, that sounds delicious.  I don’t live in a destitute coal mining town, but I sure would like to eat like I do.”)  And some were very much about current issues and will be useless in a year or two.  But there was a ton of fiction.  A ton.  And such a variety, too.  Anything from romance to cyborgs to cyborg romances…

I know.  The whole path to publication can seem insurmountable at times.  But when you’re feeling down just go to a bookstore and see all those people who’ve already done it.  If they can do it, so can you.  (And me.  It’s always about me, of course.)

It’s not easy.  It takes a looong time.  And I do think not everyone can do it.  (Just like not everyone clicks with Geometry.)  But I really do think there’s room for hope out there.  So, just give it ten years and you (and me), too, will be on the bookshelves.

About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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4 Responses to There is reason to hope (for publication)

  1. Keri Peardon says:

    There’s a good way and a bad way to look at this.

    The bad way of looking at it is that the publishing industry is trying to play it safe right now, and they’re mostly publishing stuff that’s based on other successful stuff, in the hopes that it too will be successful. Which means they’re probably less willing to take a chance on your stuff if it’s in a completely new direction.

    The good way of looking at it is if you can make your whatever (book, serial novel, fan fiction) popular enough, you’ll catch the eye of a publisher. I’ve read on several blogs that self-publishing is becoming the new query letter. For a publisher, it’s even better than guessing what the market likes, because you pick up things that have already proven likeable.

    • mhleewriter says:

      I see a TON of variety in what’s getting published. At least as a reader. Granted, I stay away from vampire books, so I’m not reading the eight million YA vampire series that are out there which probably are based on successful stuff.

      I think the naysayers tend to focus too much on a small population of books and use that as an excuse for why they aren’t getting published. (Says the writer who isn’t close to getting published yet…)

      And I still believe in traditional publishing, so I’m not a fan of the idea that everyone should go the self-published route to get noticed. It’s definitely worked for some people. But I think to go that route you need to be as much a marketing specialist as you are a a writer. You can write a great book and drown in the millions of other self-pubbed books out there. Or you can write an ok book and soar above everyone else because you’re good at selling things.

      Agreed, though, that publishers are more open to self-published books now. I just think it’s premature to write off the traditional route, especially if you can get in with a good agent.

  2. (Hunger Games cookbook anyone? “Gee, yeah, that sounds delicious. I don’t live in a destitute coal mining town, but I sure would like to eat like I do.”)


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