I have been on the internet forums recently.
You know the kind I am talking about. There is reddit and then there is Quora. And if there is something that I have seen being repeated over and over again by those guys who talk about writing is this stuff about getting published.
I know, it sucks when you have spent thousands of hours on a book but then when you finally finish it and send the manuscript to the publisher, you get a mail in your inbox after about one to two weeks that tells you the message…
Oh, I know that you already know it. That is if you are a writer who has tried to get his or her manuscript published. For the sake of us all who are looking for advice because we are just starting out, I have got to tell you. The message is:
[…] we have gone through your manuscript and found that this is not for us […]
That line is the one that hurts. It hurts. It pains. Especially if this is not the first time that you are getting rejected. Especially when this is not the second or third time that you are getting rejected.
“Is my writing just so shitty that nobody is willing to consider publishing it?”
“What did I do wrong?”
“I think I need a career change, this writing thing is not for me.”
These are the kind of things that start to go through your mind.
But you know what? I have been doing a lot of research and I think what I am just about to write might just save a writer. Or two writers. Okay, I will settle for saving at least three writers.
WHY AM I NOT GETTING PUBLISHED?
1. YOU DON’T SEEM TO LIKE TO DO THE WORK
Remember Outliers: The Story of Success? Yeah, it is that book that was written by that guy who goes by the name Malcolm Gladwell.
He made popular the idea of that it takes 10,000 of hard freaking work to become really good at your craft.
So, let’s say that after you are done with all the other activities that pay for your bills you have some two hours left for you to put into your writing. In a normal week on earth that has seven days that translates to 14 hours per week. Let’s remove the four hours because Sunday and Saturday is a weekend good friends and we as writers need to socialize.
That leaves you with approximately 10 hours a week.
One year has 52 weeks. Those are 520 hours in a year.
We are human and we are not perfect. Let’s assume that each and every week you get carried away by those chats beeping as they fly into your phone through that WhatsApp group that you created with your high school buddies. Let’s assume that each day you lose approximately 3.2967 minutes. That translates into 23.0769 minutes a week and 20 hours a year.
So now we are down to 500 hours a year.
So how many years does it take for us to be really good at our art?
It takes us (10000 ÷ 500 = 20 years).
20 years of hard work to be a master.
The figure is scary. But depending on how much you want this, then you can trim that figure and bring it down to the figure that you want. But all in all, hard work is involved.
This is to tell you that that piece that you sent to the publishers and got rejected is not a master piece like you think.
Especially if it is your first.
Work hard and perfect your skills.
2. YOU WANT TO KICK THE CRITIQUES ASS LIKE REAL HARD
99.999999% of the 7.5billion human beings on earth don’t want any critiques talking about their art.
Then there is this idea that has been popularized by self-improvement bloggers. That you shouldn’t care about what people think about you.
There is even that book that Mark Manson wrote. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life(this book is awesome though, you should read it).
There are things that you can’t just ignore when you want to be a writer.
For example, when Mark Manson was writing The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. I am sure he had to give a lot of fucks about what other better writers had to say about his book. He had to listen to them and make changes where they were due and hence this made his book a best seller.
What I am trying to tell you is that you should listen to what people are talking about what you write.
They are the people who will buy your work.
So, they know what they really want.
Listen to them.
You can be sure that you wrote the master piece. But when it comes out, you might find that people want to just throw up when they see what you have written.
If people wouldn’t want to read your work, will a publisher just waste his time publishing your work?
3. FOR NON-FICTION AUTHORS YOUR IDEA HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE
Look at it this way.
The book I was talking about above by Mark Manson about The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life is already out and it is a best seller.
What if another unknown author like you and me came out and decided to write a book that is based on the very same idea and then give the manuscript to the publisher.
Do you think he or she would just take it and publish it?
Will it withstand the competition that it will face in the field from Mark’s book?
So, unless you are writing a book and the idea is completely different from what is in the market, then don’t.
Especially when you are just starting out with your writing career.
4. YOU SIMPLY CAN’T FOLLOW THE SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS
Last time I checked, there were special instructions that publishers and agents required for them to consider your book.
They will be like:
“Send me the first 3 chapters of your novel. Include a synopsis that talks all about what your novel is all about such that a simple sweep of technically 30 seconds will tell me whether I should read those three chapters or just get in the mail and tell you that your novel sucks ass and I won’t publish it. Also include a hot picture of your wife and if you are not married send me a hot picture of your girlfriend to serve as motivation. Also send me some coffee money, otherwise I am gonna doze off when reading your pitch because it will most likely be boring.”
Then you think that because you are this awesome writer that you can just slack off and not do what you have been asked.
I will tell you what you will get.
What you will get is just another really boring email that will state the obvious.
[…] this book is just not for us […]
Follow the fucking instructions sister.
Follow the fucking instructions mum.
Follow the fucking instructions dad.
Follow the fucking instructions brother.
Thank me later.
5. THE BOOK IS NOT ECONOMICALLY VIABLE
There is something about that book you have just written.
I don’t know what.
But it screams: “THIS WONT SELL!”
Maybe it’s because Obama went on a vacation.
Maybe it’s because bill gates returned to the top of the richest people in the whole world list.
Maybe it’s because Lil Wayne has not released his much-awaited album.
If your book can’t seem to satisfy the publisher or your agent that it might get sold and people may want to buy it, then don’t have any hopes about getting published.
6. [FICTION WRITERS] NOVEL IS GREAT BUT THE QUERY LETTER IS NOT THAT GREAT
You wrote an 80,000+ world novel and now your agent tells you that you have to compress all that into a 250-word synopsis.
What? From 80,000+ to 250 words? This agent can’t be serious.
Well, I will tell you what?
The agent is freaking serious and you have to do it.
It’s like eating chicken wings every day and before you know it, you have already added 30 kg and you still have to fit into that suit you had bought for your wedding date.
It’s hard. Goddamn it. I repeated that again.
But do you have to give up because it is hard?
I don’t think so.
If need be read this article of an author who has done it before you: The Pitch Is A Bitch (But Don’t Fear The Query
7. YOU LACK THE TALENT
I tried running a marathon.
I ended up beat and breathless. I was the last.
Everyone wants to be a writer.
That means that there are millions of people who think that they can be writers but the reality is they just can never be writers.
Maybe you are one of them.
Maybe you have to consider a change in career. Maybe writing is not just your thing?
Think about it and also ask for honest opinions from people who have read your writing.
8. AGENTS DIDN’T NOTICE YOUR GENIUS
Remember Stephen king and JK Rowling?
They both are billionaires and writing made them billionaires.
You have to be pretty awesome in writing if writing is gonna be making you some real cash.
But you know what?
As they started out all publishers were kind off blind to their genius. They received numerous rejections.
But you know what? Somehow, they finally found their way into the writing world and now they are making millions every year.
If you have real talent, then number 8 is not a problem that you are supposed to be worried about.
So, there they are.
Eight reasons why you aren’t getting published.
I am sure I left something out.
Care to help out fellow writers? Put that point I forgot in the comments below.
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