It’s OK If You Don’t Like Literary Parties

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3 April 2009

Had an interesting conversation today with a colleague about the politics of book publishing; and in sharing our anecdotes, we managed to encourage ourselves that, in fact, the best and wyliest strategy for getting one’s work published is to 1) write well, and 2) be persistent.  

In other words, “who you know” is really not the silver bullet.  We both recounted experiences of receiving “help” from insiders which led to nowhere, and of publishing our work via the good ole fashioned front door.  There are writers active and known in the publishing world who have not been able to publish their books.   Agents and editors really do, for the most part, select the work that they most love and for which they have genuine unbridled enthusiasm.    

I’d call the whole weird business a subjective meritocracy.  The work must earn its place, but in the end, it’s also just another human being reading and connecting with the manuscript.

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