Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cynicism and Publishing

My title isn't very noteworthy, but it is just what I've been troubled over today.  I have a friend who is a writer.  We've had several conversations over the past year about writing and what publishers are really like.  She explained to me that publishers are looking for the next "Karen Kingsbury" or "Max Lucado".  They're goal is profit ultimately.  If you examine most Christian publishers, they are actually no longer independent publishers.  Rather, they are owned by secular publishing houses.

Knowing this information grieves me.  I wrote earlier this year that I was encouraged to see that the not for profit publishing houses publish many solid books that have encouraged me.  I've seen a qualitative difference between what they publish over the past 3 years.

But, today my faith in publishing took a big hit.  I realized that basically the only way an author can get published if she "knows" someone.  That someone is often a parent or other relative who is an author or in publishing.  Sometimes it's a friend with "connections".  Many publishers won't accept "unsolicited" manuscripts.

I encountered this same thing when I contacted various magazines in the beginning of the year.  I had a desire to find ways to draw more attention to the really good books I find.  My efforts weren't money driven at all.  In fact, I wasn't looking for a job or any income from my efforts.  I just get so frustrated about all the attention that not so good books get.  I wanted to recommend goods ones.  Anyways, when I contacted magazines, I heard back from one, but the others all gave me the response of "No thanks."  Several stated that they do not accept "unsolicited" articles.

So, what does all this mean?  What is the impact of these publishing practices?  I'm sure a lot of "not so great writing" doesn't get published, but a lot of truly great and encouraging writing is missed!  Why would I say this?  Is it because I got rejected?  Actually no.  It's because I have been trying to find a publisher to republish a great book that I came across by an independent author.  It needs to be expanded and publicized.  It is as good as, if not better as many books I've read that the "major publishers" have published.  When I sought out the help of a few publishers, I was told that they do not accept "unsolicited manuscripts".  It makes me very sad and a bit more cynical...  

By the way, if you are reading this and happen to know a publisher or literary agent that would take a look at a great book for parents, let me know!  It is a homeschooling book that I believe could be expanded to be applicable to both homeschool and public/private school parents.

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