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THE FORCE FIELD OF INCOMPETENCY THAT THE BOOK PUBLISHING INDUSTRY HAS ERECTED AROUND ITSELF

Essay By: Philip Roberts
Editorial and opinion



My intention in writing this essay is not just to let off steam about the incompetency of book publishers, but also to help younger writers break through what I call “The Force Field Of Incompetency That The Book Publishing Industry Has Erected Around Itself (To Keep Fresh, New Writers Out, And To Keep Stale, Old Hacks In)”


Submitted:Dec 23, 2010    Reads: 59    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


Some years ago, legendary horror writer Stephen King said, "The secret to success as a writer is quite simple. Sell out as quickly as possible. Remember writing is a moneymaking business. It is NOT an art form!" [This is a paraphrase, not an exact quote.]
For those of us not prepared to sell out, it would seem to be impossible to achieve any real success as a writer. Certain not financial success. Since the book publishing industry seems to have erected a force field of incompetency around itself to keep fresh, new writers out, and to keep stale, old hacks in.
Once upon a time it was not that hard to get published since there were dozens of novel publishing companies out there and (as editors still like to wrongly say) if a book was good enough eventually it would get accepted. There are still plenty of book labels out there, but if you check carefully you will find that there are only half-a-dozen book publishers now printing the dozens of labels. Send a novel to one publisher and a dozen labels will reject it at once. This is due to a series of mergers that began to happen in the U.S. and U.K. book publishing industries in the early 1970s, and which continue to this day.
In Australia things are worse due to the false-intellectual nature of our book publishers. Although ninety Percent of Aussie readers only read fiction, ninety Percent of Aussie book publishers only publish non-fiction. On top of that most fiction readers in this country only like genre fiction (especially science fiction, horror, mystery, fantasy or romance). But the ten Percent of Aussie book publishers who publish fiction, mainly publish false-intellectual, mainstream guddle. The sort of pointless rubbish that sells four hundred copies, until being nominated for the Booker Prize (or other false-intellectual book awards which rate readability as lowly as they do commercial viability), then sells another four- or five-hundred thousand copies. Then if it is such moronic garbage that it actually wins the Booker Prize, it sells another four- to five-million copies.
The usual excuse for this cretinous behaviour by Aussie fiction publishers is that they do not have time to jump on band wagons, since they have so many books accepted, that it takes two to three years to radically change their publishing policies. In fact this is major BS for two reasons. Firstly, as many struggling writers can testify, it is not uncommon for book publishers to accept a novel, keep it dangling unpublished for two to five years, then, just when the writer expects his or her novel to finally get published, they receive a rejection slip (for a novel previously accepted) explaining that a change in publishing policy means that the label is no longer able to publish their manuscript (which has been out of circulation for up to half a decade, since the writer does not keep sending around a novel after it has already been accepted!)
Secondly, the suggestion that it takes too long a turn around time to chase a trend in publishing was shown up as total BS in the 1970s and '80s, when there was an eighteen year boom in the horror novel industry. During that time hundreds of millions of horror novels were sold in Australia, but in a trend lasting nearly two decades, not a single horror novel was published by any big publisher in Australia (only by mainly photocopied small press publishers).
Many years later the chief horror editor at NEL Books (the New English Library) during the horror boom, claimed that fifty Percent of horror novels published in the U.K. in that time were exported to Australia. Allowing that the U.K. has a population at least three times that of Australia, if his claim is true, then per capita the massive horror boom was larger in Australia than in any other country in the world.
Literally billions of Aussie dollars went overseas to the U.K., because NEL and other U.K. publishers were smart enough to get in on the horror trend and to recognise a massive untapped market when the Aussie book publishers were such monumental idiots that they were too stupid to climb aboard a trend that lasted eighteen years. Or else were simply too false intellectual to be prepared to publish horror fiction, no matter how much money they were flushing away by refusing to publish a style of fiction that they thought [for want of a better word] was beneath their dignity to publish!
However, leaving aside the long-dead horror boom and the fundamental cretinism of Australian book publishers, why is it so nearly impossible to get a first novel published these days worldwide?
In 1994 I wrote a novel "The Flame Devil". At that time I send it around (over a period of about three years) to fifty-three book publishers throughout the U.S.A., the U.K., and Europe and received fifty-three virtually identical rejection slips, which effectively said: "Thank you for sending us your manuscript, we were too shit stupid to read it, kindly get stuffed!"
It did not take an Einstein to realise that something is badly wrong with the book publishing industry, if out of more than fifty publishers presented with the novel, not one of them had the brainpower necessary to even read it!
Needless to say I was completely demoralised and did not look at this novel again for thirteen years. When I finally did look at it again, I was actually surprised at just how good it is. Usually I am no judge of my own writing, it could be good, bad, or completely shithouse for all I can tell. But having not looked at this novel for thirteen years I was able to look at it objectively as though reading someone else's manuscript and could see that it is very good indeed. Certainly "The Flame Devil" is easily up to the standard to be published in book form.
So, why were fifty-three different publishers too cretinous to even read the manuscript, let alone consider publishing it?
Well, part of the problem is that with the constant mergers over nearly forty years, there are so few fiction publishers left, that the handful still surviving are so powerful that they no longer fear competition. They no longer have to keep on their toes. They no longer have to keep fresh and up to date. No longer have to have a single brain cell between them. Lethargy and almost a criminal level of incompetency has set in among the half-a-dozen or so book publishers in the world who now publish most fiction book labels.
The second biggest problem is down staffing as mergers have led to less editors being employed and the requirement for so-called editors (who amongst big fiction labels are really now just book reader-rejecters, not true editors at all) to read five-hundred book-length manuscripts each month. Forget speed-reading, no-one on Earth is capable of reading five-hundred novels a month even once, let alone eleven months a year every year.
Therefore, to fill their quotas most editors reject most novels after one or two sentences at most! You do not just have to write a great novel now to get it published; it has to be word perfect, letter perfect, comma perfect. And the first sentence of the novel must be the greatest first sentence ever written or the book reader-rejecter (as an honest person, I cannot lie and keep calling them editors) will not continue reading. If they do read past the first sentence, then your second sentence also needs to be the greatest second sentence ever written for them to read the third sentence, and the same with the third sentence, et cetera.
Needless to say, book reader-rejecters almost never read to the end of the first paragraph, let alone the second paragraph. And if you know they read the whole first page before giving up on it, then at least you can take pride in having written the greatest first page ever written; even if they subsequently rejected the manuscript two words into the second page.
Forget Herman Wouk's literary tripe "Youngblood Hawk!" That kind of thing has not happened in the book publishing industry for forty to fifty years.
In Youngblood Hawk, a young author sends a badly written, but still powerful, promising novel to a big publisher. They not only accept the novel and have a real editor (unlike modern book reader-rejecters who are not competent to actually edit a book) work with him for ten months fixing the book. But they also pay the author for the ten months so he can give up his other job and concentrate full time on the novel.
In 1961/62 when Youngblood Hawk was written this may have still happened (although I am dubious). But by 1972 there were few actual editors still employed in the book publishing industry. Most had been fired to save on wages, and had to go freelance (I'll get back to freelance editors or "book doctors" at the end of this essay).
On top of this Wouk further disgraces himself by suggesting that scheming writers and agents are in league to rip off poor innocent hardworking book publishers. Talk about stabbing his own profession in the back, all in the name of BS and sucking up to the cretinous idiots who are presently in the process of murdering the literary industry by stopping the next generation of writers from coming along, by refusing pig-headedly to ever publish first novels.
I remember not long ago my sister, Denise, who is a big fan of mystery, science fiction, and fantasy novels, complaining that for the last couple of decades most new novels in these three genres had a sameness about them. They were all much-of-a-muchness, to the point where it almost seemed as though the new novels were just old novels reprinted under a new title, with some of the places and character names changed.
I explained to Denise, that the force-field of incompetency that the book publishing industry has erected around itself to keep fresh, new writers out, and to keep stale, old hacks in is responsible for this. If book publishers keep publishing novels by the same old hacks year in, decade out, then nothing fresh and new is ever getting published. That is why, not just the three genres mentioned above, but most genre novels published anywhere in the world over the last thirty years or more have had a been-there, read-that feel to them.
There are millions of fresh, original writers in the world, capable of writing revolutionarily fresh novels under ever possible genre, sub-genre, or even cross-genres. But since most of these fresh, vibrant writers will never get their work published in book form in their own life times, understandably they are unable to sweep away the stale, rancid stench of stagnation that has pervaded most genre novels since the mid-to-late 1970s.
Of course, this phenomenon of great artists not getting due appreciation in their own lifetime is hardly new. However, in past years, talented artists of all persuasions had at least some chance of achieving fame and (less likely) fortune in their own lifetimes. Nowadays it is damn near impossible for writers to achieve any success. Even on the Internet, most sites are peculiarly reticent to publish groundbreaking writing.
Unless we can find a way to break through the force-field of incompetency that the book publishing industry has erected around itself to keep fresh, new writers out, and to keep stale, old hacks in, the stench of stagnation will continue to pervade genre fiction, until out of desperation, even intelligent people begin to lower their sights and out of desperation start reading pointless mainstream guddle.
Certainly things are not helped by the Catch-22 situation that the book publishing industry and literary agents have conspired together to create. Basically no major book publisher now even reads manuscripts (past the first few lines anyway) unless the manuscript was sent to them via a literary agent or at least a literary lawyer. However, established literary agents and literary lawyers never take on new clients except when one of their current writers dies or moves on to another agency.
However, even then most literary agents and literary lawyers will only accept new writers by referral from an established writer or established editor. So unless you are luck enough to have a professional editor as a friend (as Dean Koontz did before he got his first novel published at age twenty with the help of his editor friend), or a more successful writer than yourself, you still cannot break through the force field of incompetency.
However, even if we seem to get a foot in the doorway, a shadow through the force field, all is still not plain sailing. Most people when they think of novelists, think of massive sellers like Dean Koontz, Janet Evanovich, Stephen King, J.K.Rowling, et cetera. But few writers achieve that level of fame or fortune. Statistics show that ninety Percent of writers never manage to write full time for a living. Of the ten Percent who do, ninety Percent of them do not make as much as they would do as bottom rung accountants, book keepers, factory hands, or labourers. And nothing like as much as a bank manager or a plumber.
I remember when I was in a U.S.-based writer's society a decade or so ago. One of the members was a writer who we all thought of as a success [I will not mention her name] since we all recalled her series of seven highly acclaimed novels published some years ago. However, she pointed out that all though the seven novels had sold reasonably well, they had not turned her into a millionairess, and in the decade since she had failed to find anyone prepared to publish her eighth and subsequent novels. As far as I know in the further decade since then, she still has not had an eighth novel published.
From the same writing society c.1999, I remember an author and young mother telling the story of her first book publication. It had barely been published when one day she was in the kitchen when her excited three-year old raced in calling, "Mommy, mommy, your book is on TV!" When she went to investigate it was an advertisement for a bargain-priced book sale, which meant that her book had failed and had been remaindered (sold to big book stores at a loss). Needless to say, authors do not get a cent in royalties for remaindered books, so the woman was less excited at the advertisement than her young daughter had been.
As for myself, my only published novels to date are an early novel serialised in a photocopied magazine in four parts c.2001.
In the mid 1980s I wrote a novel, "The Bludgers" about the experience of myself and my brother, John, on unemployment relief and how sadistically the Commonwealth Employment Service (C.E.S.) treated the unemployed in those days.
In the late 1980s I send "The Bludgers" around to dozens of publishers world-wide and got the same two line reject that I would later get for "The Flame Devil" from most of the book publishers: "Thank you for sending us your manuscript, we were too sh_t stupid to read it, kindly get stuffed!"
To my surprise however, (having only sent round the first fifty pages and an outline of the rest of the novel), I did receive a request to see the entire novel from Angus & Robertson Australia in New South Wales. Needless to say I was excited, thinking, wrongly, that at last I had a foot in the door. I was less excited though; by the time I filled out the questionnaire, which had to be returned with it. The gist of it was questions of the order: "Who do you think is most likely to want to read your novel," "How do you suggest we market it," "What advice do you have toward advertising and selling your novel."
On reflexion I probably should not have bothered even sending the manuscript to them after reading the questionnaire, because it told me [although it was a decade later that I joined the U.S.-based writer's guild] why the authoress's novel would be remaindered all those years later. Namely that even if you do get a book published, most big book publishers do not have a clue in hell how to advertise or promote the books they sell. They just dump books by no-name authors onto the market and let them sink or swim by dumb luck alone.
With big names they emphasise the author, not the book, in essence: "Rush out and by the latest book by Stephen King [or Dean Koontz, or Ruth Rendell, et cetera], many TV advertisements barely remember to even mention the title of the book. Once authors achieve million-selling status they might as well just number their novels and not bother with a title, since the title plays little or no part in the marketing of their works.
It amazes me the difference between a relatively new industry like the film industry, barely a century old, where they are experts at the advertising side of the business, and market almost any piece of cinematic crap into a hit. Unlike the much older publishing industries that goes back five or six hundred years at least and yet they do not have a clue how to advertise their product. If you are a mega-name author they just advertise you and might as well advertise Dean Koontz's book number 117 [or whatever] since they barely remember to mention the title of novels by name writers. With lesser light's like the young mother they just dump the new book into the market with zero advertising, let it fail and be remaindered.
Basically, if you do get far enough through the force-field of incompetency that the book publishing industry has erected around itself to keep fresh, new writers out, and to keep stale, old hacks in to get your first book publication your only chances of really having a hit are if the film industry decides to offer you the traditional bag of peanuts to purchase the film rights to your novel, or if your are flamboyant and extraverted enough to be able to promote your own novel [very few writers are. People mainly fall into two categories, good talkers, and good writers. Very few people are both.] The third way, involving dumb luck, is if you book is picked up as a main attraction by a monthly book club.
Book club selections often tend to sell in the millions, because for a hardback book they can be up to $10 per book less than the original publishers edition! So how can the book clubs afford to charge so little for their editions, since they are just as professionally made as any other book? The answer is simple; book clubs do not pay a cent in royalties to the author!
Remember, the next time you buy a cheap book club edition; you are stealing food from the mouth of a struggling writer! When George Orwell had his first million seller, "The Road to Wigan Pier" [although still published as non fiction, actually a novel since Orwell according to his official biographer, Bernard Crick, only went to the Wigan Pier area for two days and went down in the infamous mine pit just once], Orwell received a pittance in royalties. The original publisher sold Five thousand copies and the rest were sold through the Communist Book Club of England, which meant that Orwell did not receive a penny in royalties for the bulk of the copies sold. This is why you should certainly think twice before allowing a book club to release an edition of your book. It is not much help to have a million-selling novel, if you do not get paid anything for your troubles!
Perhaps this explains where the good old days of Herman Wouk's "Youngblood Hawk" (where publishers would carry promising writers for years or even decades if necessary before their first hit novel, to encourage them to keep going until they had mastered their craft) came to an end. Rather than promote promising writers until their skill is honed it is easier to throw them away, not too concerned if they give up in depression and stop writing entirely [or for long periods, such as the nine-and-two-thirds years that I stopped writing from early April 2000 until early November 2009 when I finally wrote the story "Terror Mart", which I had plotted out in the mid 1990s].
After all it is much easier to advertise "Stephen King's 109th book, than to have to find a way to advertise it by title. Although hit series like Janet Evanovich's "Stephanie Plum" novels and J.K.Rowling's "Harry Potter" books must be a great blessing for the publishers. Then instead of "Janet Evanovich's latest novel" or "J.K.Rowling's latest novel", they can advertise "The Latest Stephanie Plum novel," or "the latest Harry Potter novel". I've never read either series, although I greatly respect J.K.Rowling for the way that she has got children to put away their games consuls and start reading again. As for Janet Evanovich, my sister, Denise, is a massive Stephanie Plum fan. I do not know if Denise has ever heard of Janet Evanovich or the actual title of any of her novels, but the name Stephanie Plum is enough to get Denise reaching for her purse.
As for me and Angus and Robertson, did I send "The Bludgers" to them with the completed questionnaire? Well, naturally I did. It was just over three years later that I heard back from them with the by now expected rejection slip: "Thank you for sending us your manuscript, we were too sh_t stupid to read it, kindly get stuffed!" I doubt that they considered it for three years before rejecting it. More likely they put it on top of a wardrobe, forgot it, found it again three years later, and send it back without bothering to even read it.
This was not my last experience with "The Bludgers" though. In the early 1990s the Australian Federal Government got the excellent idea [not like them at all, how a good idea ever got past the white-board stage in Canberra I do not know!] of setting up a free book agency to help struggling Aussie writers to break through the force field of incompetency. Regrettably after twenty years I cannot recall its exact name, but it was something like "The Australian Federal Literary Agency".
I sent off "The Bludgers" to them and received a thank you assuring me that they would do their best to get it published. When after five months I had heard nothing from them, I sent a very polite letter asking if I could have some form of progress report upon their efforts with my novel.
To my surprise and dismay they went into a sulky fit because I dared to expect them to keep me up with things and promptly sent my novel back to me. Without ever telling me who if anyone they had sent "The Bludgers" to. With such an amateur approach, it is probably no surprise to any of you that this government agency only last a year or two.
Yes, it was a very good idea, but very badly executed, with coarse amateurs who would sulkily send back a novel they had already accepted just because I dared to ask for a progress report after five long months. In fact I had been very tolerant, the rule of thumb is that if you do not hear back from a publisher or agent after three months, they are not interested in your manuscript. A professional agent, genuinely trying to get your novel published would send you a progress report every month - at least!
A much better way for the Australian Federal government to have helped struggling Aussie writers to get published in book form would have been by (ruthlessly) manipulating the book bounty that existed in those days. At that time the federal government in this country paid a bounty (of about ten Percent of the publishing cost) for publishers of books. Unfortunately this did not help struggling writers unable to break through the force field of incompetency that the book publishing industry has erected around itself to keep fresh, new writers out, and to keep stale, old hacks in. All it did was line the pockets of the book publishers and successful, established writers - the last people to need handouts from the Aussie government. Here is how I would have made the book bounty work:
Firstly, since ninety Percent of book publishers in this country ignore the wants of Aussie readers by only publishing non-fiction, I would have excluded all non-fiction books from receiving the book bounty.
Secondly, since ninety Percent of fiction publishers in this country only want to publish the sort of mainstream guddle that is nominated for the Booker Prize, I would have excluded mainstream novels.
Thirdly, since the biggest problem we face worldwide is that publishers only want to keep publishing more tripe by long-established hacks, I would have excluded established writers from being eligible for the book bounty. The way to do that is to actually increase the amount of the book bounty, but make it only cover the first five novels, the first five short-story collections, the first five published plays (or collections of plays) and the first five published scripts (or collections of scripts) by any one author. This excludes established hacks and forces publishing industry to start reluctantly letting a few fresh, new writers through the force field of incompetency.
However, with the demise of the book bounty, how else can you break through the force-field of incompetency that the book publishing industry has erected around itself to keep fresh, new writers out, and to keep stale, old hacks in? At one time I used to hope that there would be a big literary convention to which the four- or five-hundred most successful living authors would all be invited to, and that along the way their plane would crash and all the hacks being sustained by the force-field of incompetency would burn in a fiery heap and the incompetent book publishers of the world would have to start actively looking for new writers for the first time in forty years or more. However, there are two problems with this "dream". Firstly, as a Christian person, I would not really want four- or five-hundred innocent people to die just because they had managed to do what I could not: somehow break through the force-field of incompetency that the book publishing industry has erected around itself to keep fresh, new writers out, and to keep stale, old hacks in. Secondly, it would not help anyway. If so many successful writers were to die at once, the publishing companies of the world would simply get together and dismantle the publishing industry worldwide. They are all but doing that now, by refusing to bring up the next generation of talented writers.
I remember Dean Koontz explaining (I think it was in "How To Write Best-Selling Fiction, Writer's Digest Press 1981), that the reason he has kept a stranglehold on letting his works be filmed, rather than allowing everything he has ever had published be filmed the way that Stephen King has done was that he had quickly worked out that the U.S. film industry was the most incompetent industry in the world. So that, if he let them film everything he had ever written they would end up making dozens of completely crap films and just the occasional watchable film [as has happened with Stephen King. To date out of dozens of Stephen King movies the only watchable ones are "Carrie", "The Dead Zone", "Shawshank Redemption", and "The Green Mile": the rest could best be described as cinematic dross.]
Well, I can personally back what Koontz has said. Certainly the U.S. film industry from a writer's point of view is one of the most incompetent industries in the world, with most film companies employing no readers for the thousands of scripts a year that they receive. So the film industry has a force field of incompetency around it too.
However, having had his first novel published at age twenty, with the help of an editor friend (which most writers are not lucky enough to have) Koontz is blissfully unaware that there is one even more incompetent industry in the world: namely the book publishing industry. Frankly your chances of getting a first novel published these days [without the help of a good book doctor!] are significantly less than your chances of winning the first division of a major lottery the first time you buy a ticket!
So just how do you break through the force field of incompetency? Well, one way I've been assured is to go to a literary seminar [possibly free, or possibly costing hundreds of dollars depending upon what organisation has arranged it]. At a literary seminar you will be told a load of gobbledegook by a number of editors and successful writers. Then at the end of the seminar, supposedly you will get a chance to break through the force-field of incompetency that the book publishing industry has erected around itself to keep fresh, new writers out, and to keep stale, old hacks in, by being allowed to approach one of the editors with a book idea. The only snag is that they will not listen to a comprehensive, in-depth explanation of your novel/book. They want you to give them a single sentence describing your novel, a hook such as: "King Kong Meets the Women from the Red Planet," or "Star Trek Meets Jaws!"
The truth is, that no complex, well thought out and well-written novel can be reduced to such a simplistic, single-sentence. Clearly the force field of incompetency is also designed to forbid original, groundbreaking novels to ever get published. What they want you to do is write second-rate guddle that is a flagrant rip off of one or more already success concepts.
Also, particularly if you have to pay to attend one of these seminars, there is the question of just who are the people you are paying to hear? How famous are they really? How connected are they really? How much help, if any can they really give you toward getting your work published, even if you manage to reduce your work to a one-sentence hook and they take the bait?
In February 1970 I wrote my first short story [at age thirteen]; nearly nineteen years later, just before Christmas 1988, I got my first short story publication, in a magazine called The Gippsland Writer, based in the Victorian countryside. Despite never accepting anything else of mine, a few months later, on the basis of one short story publication, they asked me to attend one of these literary seminars in Gippsland as the guest speaker; as a published writer. In 1989 I would get just two more stories published, but having anything accepted at all qualified me as a published writer so that I could have been the guest speaker at a literary seminar!
I turned down the request for three reasons. One, I did not feel like a successful writer after just one short story publication in nineteen years [although I did have my first two poetry publications by then also]. Secondly, because the Gippsland Writer did not offer to pay my train fare from Melbourne (a couple of hundred dollars even in those days), which seemed a liberty, since they were also not going to pay me for talking at the seminar. And thirdly, because after nineteen years writing for I short story, and two poetry publications, my advice to the budding writers would have been:
"Give up now, stop making a fool of yourself before you even start! Don't waste your life trying to break through the force-field of incompetency that the book publishing industry has erected around itself to keep fresh, new writers out, and to keep stale, old hacks in, the way that I have wasted my life!"
Twenty years later I now have a hundred-and-eight short story publications in magazines; five-hundred-and-eighty-five poems published in magazines, one short novel serialised over four issues of a magazine called Alien Worlds. So, on reflexion, I would now still tell the budding writers that their sanest bet is to give up. But I would add that there are two other methods to break through the force field of incompetency
The first is self-publishing, often called vanity publishing. The second is with the help of a book doctor.
Firstly vanity publishing. If you have the time and confidence to do the preparation yourself [possible these days with relatively inexpensive computer software] and pay for a professional printer to manufacturer your books this may (or may not!) be viable. The most common method is to pay a vanity press publisher to do the whole thing. The problem here is that vanity press publishers are mainly crooks who ask about $25,000 to publish two-thousand copies of your book. For this kind of money you should be getting six- to seven-thousand copies, not two-thousand! Vanity presses grossly overcharge, making it impossible for you to recoup your money, let alone make any profit. Remember vanity presses do not help to sell your book. For this you will need a book distributor, who will take twenty Percent of the sales price for each copy sold. Then the bookshop or newsagency will expect a forty Percent discount off the cover price, so that they can make a profit. Leaving you with forty Percent of the cover price. At $25,000 it is therefore impossible to break even. Besides, (in Australia at least) a book distributor will insist on you printing at least five-thousand copies before they will handle your book. This means paying $62,500 to a vanity press publisher!
Also, book distributors do not guarantee they can sell your book. A friend of mine, Chris Masters, in the 1990s printed five-thousand copies of the first issue of a new horror magazine at the insistence of the distributor Gordon and Gotch. They had the five-thousand books for a few months, and then returned thirty-two hundred copies. They had managed to sell not quite eighteen hundred copies!
So, whether you self-publish, or get ripped off by a full-blown vanity press, the figures do not add up. And frankly you would need to be on your deathbed with nothing to lose before it would be a sane option to part with all of that money.
In fact, the only sane way to break through the force field of incompetency is by hiring a book doctor.
In essence a book doctor is a professional, freelance editor. Many of them once worked for big name book publishers until the book company mergers throughout the 1970s and '80s meant that book publishers started to slash staff and many talented editors got laid off.
As a rule a book doctor will charge you $5,000 to $10,000 to work on your book with you. Note that they are not ghostwriters and will not write it for you, they are freelance editors who do what the book companies used to do; help you get your book so good that even the incompetents who now run most book companies will consider it. Book doctors are much better value than vanity publishing, costing twenty to forty Percent as much as vanity publishers. Book doctors also get your book into an edited state. Vanity press publishers do not care how rough it is; since they grossly overcharge so much that financially they cannot lose. And you cannot win.
Also, since most book doctors used to work for publishing companies, they still have contacts in the industry and can get your book actually read by a publisher! So start saving your money, $5,000 to $10,000 is all you need to break through the force-field of incompetency that the book publishing industry has erected around itself to keep fresh, new writers out, and to keep stale, old hacks in and get your first book published!
THE END
© Copyright 2010
Philip Roberts




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