« The Purpose of This Site | Main | 2. Effective Writing Habits »

September 04, 2006


Mark Troy

Hard facts? No way!
Maybe things are easy for novelists in Canada. This paints a very rosy picture for the first novelist in the U.S..

One week for proofreading? Hardly. You made no mention of the countless revisions. If an established writer writes 3 or 4 drafts, the first-timer will write four or five times that. Hallie Ephron, mystery writer and author of How to Write and Sell Your Mystery Novel, reports that her first novel went through twenty revisions before it sold. James Crumley revised The Last Good Kiss 18 times.

A contract two weeks after the ms. arrives at an editor's office? Please. The first novelist will suffer triple digit rejections before making the sale.

With luck, the first-timer will sell to a big publisher for a nice advance, but more and more first novelists are selling to small presses that pay little or no advance.

I think most first novelists have no comprehension of the amount of revising they'll do and the number of rejections they'll receive before they even come up against your "hard facts."

Steven LA'bri

My guess is that I will be hit by lightning before I am every published by a big house. It is not that I cannot write - I can. But the chances are so slim that it makes one wonder why they bother. Fortunately, I write for my own creative release and one day someone may find me.


Cannot download any of the pdf documents listed here, are they available on the website as just web pages?

Many thanks


How do you feel about self publishing?


From what I know of publishing, most of what is written isn't even close to hard facts. The more likely case is that a person will edit, edit, edit, and the edit some more. Self-publishing can help find a literary agent. It probably won't get your work very far off the ground, but literary agents usually look for people who have prior publishing experience.

Also, most big publishing companies don't accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Something I've found that can be useful though is putting up your story online. For example, a site called "Inkpop" is run by HarperCollins. Each month, the top five stories, chosen by users, are looked at by a HP editor. A lot of the people on the site have managed to get their books published thanks to the help and advice they got from Inkpop.


I can't download any of the 18 documents.What to do ?


To be honest I expected the situation to be harsher than this.


Week of proofreading...Ive revised my novel almost a dozen times smoothing out the wrinkles, however setting up time frames I need to consider


I read the comments before the content. All you who are saying the hard facts are not hard at all are likely writers and not really readers. It was pretty clear when I read it that it was a "best case" scenario for a new writer (hence the part about the senior person noticing the manuscript instead of the usual junior assigned to review) and even in the best case scenario this plays out over 4 years. This is hard facts for me. I think the real lesson is that if you suck, you have no chance. And if you don't suck, you probably still have no chance. Which means you really have to love it, and if so, that's enough motivation, regardless of the outcome. You'll keep trying, reaching out, and talking to people. If Serendipity decides to hit you favourably, then great! If not, then I hope you got out what you put in.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Creative Commons