A Response to: “Why I Gave Up the Dream of Getting Published” by Jessica Davidson

Does my bum/ego/writer-ly delusion – look big on this (Jurassic) rock?


My post below is in response to the above-named (see link also).

I thought this article demonstrated tremendous insight. I know nothing of your novel-writing but I too have been studying the (new) publishing world for about five years. I realised a while ago that my query letter was rubbish;  there were no spelling or grammar errors but that query letter is probably the most important letter that, well, certainly I will ever write. Having attended a number of ‘getting published’ courses and being involved in writing groups, time and time again I have come across people who say they will not change much – or indeed anything – about their book. Then there are the ones who refuse to let anyone else see their work – in case someone steals it! I have met people who think because they have put 85,000 words down, that makes them an author. I have heard people say that JK Rowling was turned down a lot before getting a result; I understand she got turned down about 12 times – let’s just suppose for now that was the figure. However, that is actually a great result but unpublished writers are not aware of that when they should be prepared to approach hundreds of agents – in more than one country if possible.

[Time to break up the text!]

A hilarious sign I witnessed on the cemetery island, Venice.

I have met people who just assume their book is sensational and any literary agents that do not agree are just idiots. I imagine you are sensing my theme by now. Please note that I am not suggesting you are one of these wackos which is why I began this (rather long) comment as I did. I am wondering if you have had any feedback from literary agents as that can be informative. And it is all the dopes above) who are cluttering up the publishing (traditional and self-) universe which is why agents have a much harder job than existed up until about a decade ago. And why do unpublished writers believe they are first-class expert authors in this area when we do not usually assume that about other occupations – just because we can write joined-up sentences does not make us actual authors. I had a chemistry set when I was young and was great at making stink-bombs and growing crystals but that did not make me Madame Curie (!).

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