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About Writing Right: The Blog


Someonee asked me the other day how authors find publishers who are willing to support first-time authors in their quest to write their books. My response? You might have guessed.

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They don't. Pure and simple. I'm not sure what fantasies you've been reading to give you the notion that they do, but let me set you straight. Publishers couldn't give a damn about first-time authors and their quest to write a book. We're not talking King Arthur and the Holy Grail, here. We're talking reality. And reality comes in two flavors.


On one side, we have one flavor called publishing. Publishing is a business. It's comprised of corporate entities, most of which have shareholders who meet once a year to elect their boards of directors, discuss their profits and losses, and moan about the lackluster performance of their stocks on the market.


On the other side, we have another flavor called authors. Authors come in two types, beginners (non-moneymakers) and established (less non-moneymakers). With that understood, why on earth would a publisher be "willing to support" a first-time author's quest to write a book? This isn't fantasyland. It's reality. And in the real world, publishers don't take losses from first-time authors (which is what the huge majority of first-book authors give them) in exchange for the noble and altruistic goal of standing behind and cheering for a financial deficit.


We're not talking LalaLand in the Big Wide Wonderful World of publishing anymore than we are in the worlds of oil production or semi-conductor manufacturing or banking or the jet airliner industry. We're talking dollars-and-cents, hard-nosed reality here.


Am I making my point yet? I can go on. But I'm betting I don't have to.


Hope this opens your eyes and answers your question.


Oh, one more thing. Am I sorry? You bet I am. And, I once believed the way you do. But that was fifty years and ninety-some books ago. And, as I learned a long time ago, being sorry don't feed the bulldog when you're a full-time author trying to eek out a living.


Still, if it's in your blood …


Smoke if you've got 'em.

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D. J. Herda is author of the new ebook series of writing advice, About Writing Right, available at Amazon and at fine booksellers everywhere. You can check out his weekly column, "The Author-Ethicist," at Substack.com.

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