What Should Writers Do: Begging or Selling?

27 Mar



Dean Wesley Smith

Dean Wesley Smith wrote a great, although somewhat blunt post:

“If you follow an old model, you send your manuscript to either an editor or an agent: Imagine yourself standing at the door of a restaurant in ragged clothes, hat-in-hand, begging for some food. You have no bargaining power, no position to try to get a decent contract (meal). And if you are with a slush-reading agent, imagine that you now only get a part of what little bit of food they are willing to toss you.

If you follow the new, indie-publishing model: Imagine you own your own business. You have money coming in the door, have customers, and a growing list of products. A representative of a major corporation shows up in your store and asks to buy some of your product for their company. You know what the product is worth and you know you can get decent contract terms. They have come to you, into your business, and it is an even bargaining position for both of you, business to business. They want what you are selling. You can decide if the money and terms are worth for you, selling it.”

He writes (in a nutshell):
“I have no idea

  • why any writer would spend so much time writing a book and then not allow that book to earn for them while it was being looked at by traditional publishers.
  • why any writer would send any manuscript into a traditional, old-style slush pile.
  • why anyone would even think of sticking with the old model of begging at a publisher’s door with a manuscript in a  slush pile.

Just as we had to learn how to do cover letters and synopsis of novels that would help our books sell, the writers of today need to learn how to do covers and cover blurbs and tag lines that will help their books sell.”

Read the whole story, in which he explains where the word “Slush pile” comes from and how publishing / author-publishing evolved in the last 70 years. Very interesting read for authors, new and established:

Dean Wesley Smith is also the Author of The New World of Publishing  A Hard Look at the New World of Indie and Traditional Publishing among dozens of others in a variety of genres.





Hyper Smash



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