Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Publishing Misconceptions

I run a lot of workshops and I come across a lot of misconceptions about how the publishing industry works.

Over here, Charlie Stross is talking on just this topic.

Here are some of the things that have come up at workshops from the general public. The first one is my own misconception.

1. Once you get a book published it means you have joined the world of the professional author, and editors from other publishing houses will look at all your future books differently. ie. It will be easier to sell your books, because after all you are a published author.

Unfortunately, no. There are a dozen reasons for rejecting your book, that you don't know about, starting with 'we have one slot left and we're going to use someone we've published before' to 'your book is too similar to one we're going to publish next week' to the old 'It's just not what we are looking for'. What are you looking for? 'We'll know it when I see it.'

2. Publishers and their editors are out to steal your book/ideas, so you need to get your book copyrighted before you send it out.

No. If you write a good book, the publisher will want to grow you as a writer, not steal your idea and write it themselves. They aren't writers. They might know writers, but those writers couldn't reproduce your book. Your book is automatically copyrighted when you write it. Posting it back to yourself via registered mail to prove when you wrote it, isn't necessary.

3. Self publishing your book then sending copies of it to celebrities across Australia in the hope that they will love it and promote it.

Um ... celebrities are probably not going to read your self published book and, even if they loved it, they aren't going to arrange to go on Breakfast Television to talk about it.

Are there any questions that you'd like to ask the ROR team with our shared experience in the publishing world. (Disclaimer -- we don't know everything).

PS. The story about the aspiring writer following the editor into the toilets at a convention and pushing her manuscript under the door is true. Note. This is not the right way to approach an editor, it will not endear them to your book.


Brendan said...

It might have been handy if the convention centre toilets were out of dunny paper though.

Rita de Heer said...

Hi Rowena

I've seen the acronym DMR many many times in relation to publishing industry, still do not know its meaning. Can you explain?

Rowena Cory Daniells said...


That was exactly what I thought when I first heard about it!

Rowena Cory Daniells said...


I'd have to see it in context. Acronyms can mean so many things.