They say it's not what you know, it's who you know, and nowhere is that more true than in the world of writing. There's a gigantic industry out there, parts of it bearing formerly respectable names, designed for the sole purpose of taking money from writers. Free advice (urging you to pay for more) abounds. The real industry that publishes books has shrunk, consolidated and vanished into inaccessibility. You can't actually get there anymore, not without a native guide. Meanwhile, the Parasitic Service Industry and various forms of DIY publishing, especially easy-access electronic publishing, have created a huge obstacle course not to publishing itself but to reaching the actual industry “in group” and the readers authors desperately seek.
A certain few people, most of whom teach at MFA programs, still claim that query letters, sent snail mail, to the three agents in the whole world who will even look at unsolicited queries, one at a time, giving each six months to think about it (if they even answer at all) so that, if accepted, you might get your work sent to one of the few marketplaces that will give a glance at unsolicited submissions even if agented, is the ONLY way to get “properly” published.
Note the use of the word "unsolicited" above. That means unless you have a PERSONAL IN of some sort, you will not be able to even reach anybody at all. Ever. It's not what you know, it's not how good your work is, it's WHO YOU KNOW. This is where you come in.
If you actually attract the attention of a publisher, it's likely going to be a small one, one that will provide you with hardly any of the services (editing, etc) that publishers used to, and all the marketing they'll give you is a place in their catalogs — that’s still something, but basically you're on your own. Want to reach your readers? The odds of winning the lottery are better.
So, who do YOU know? Do you know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who just might sell books for wider distribution and film and series rights? Will you perform an introduction? That's all it takes to get some fantastic books out of the slush pile.
I want to meet your friends, and so does every other writer you know.
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