Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Cemetery, Or Why it Feels Like Everybody Gets Book Deals Except You

Back when you were in school, did you ever have an annoying kid in your class who would ask all of the kids around him what their grades were--just so he could get a chance to brag about his grade in return?

I had a classmate just like this, and this was his way of making sure everybody knew about it whenever he got an A. Funny, though, how this kid seemed to keep quiet when his grades weren't so great.

Book deal winners are a little bit like this annoying kid. Whenever a blogger or a new writer gets a book deal, you can guarantee that he'll talk about it, usually ad nauseum. But the writers who don't have book deals--well, what is there to say about not getting a book deal that won't bore or depress your readers?

Please remember, for the sake of your own sanity, that the number of times you read about writers with book deals is vastly out of proportion to the percentage of writers who actually have book deals. This is why it feels like everybody has a book deal except you. The writers who get book deals seem like they're everywhere, but in reality they are a tiny group of extreme outliers.

And for every person who makes it into this exclusive publishing heaven, there are a million others laboring in the publishing cemetery, writing, working and waiting for their chance.

The thing is, everyone in this publishing cemetery is silent. Dead silent. That's why you don't hear them, see them, or even think they exist. And the smart ones there are diligently writing, because it's impossible to get a book deal if you don't work on your book.