Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Eight Rules To Publishing Success

I wanted to go over my checklist of things that I've learned from the internets in order to get my writing published. These rules are applicable to a debut author only. Authors that have already earned their chops can publish their laundry lists which is hardly interesting or exceptional in my opinion. Also, there is no sarcasm in my post. Otherwise I'm a dirty frickin' liar and Stephen Colbert is not an actor.

1) Show, Don't Tell. Source: Just about everyone (including Misha on her Tuesday post). When can you break this rule? When you have lots of sheeple as followers and you are essentially famous (if not A-List then C-D list celebrity still the dude that got a pic of himself posted to Twitter when Paris Hilton was passed out drunk at a Hollywood sex party still works).

2) Girl point-of-view only. Source: Numerous agent blogs. Women buy books, men buy video games, drink beer, and send pics of their bare chests to single women (especially true if married because men hate the feeling that their greatness has been tied to one person--honestly--the length of a man's dick needs to be shared with others). When can you break this? If you write for an audience younger than 10 or older than 30.


3) Romance. Source: Numerous agent blogs. People who read want to escape reality. Unfortunately this means that much of reality is a cesspit where romance does not exist. People are all about the bottom line (money), want your rent check, and could care less whether you are feeling like shit. If you don't have your rent check then they are interested in you...interested in taking you to court or how soon you'll be moving out. One way or's not the kind of interest you want. Hence...grab a book. When can you break this? If you write for an audience younger than 10 or for straight men.
4) A clearly defined protagonist and antagonist. Source: Numerous agent blogs. People like good vs. evil. When can you break this? When you are George R.R. Martin.

5) Include hot men. Source: Nearly every book in print. Women and gay men like their men smokin' hot with six pac abs and forever stuck in that senior in high school period of time.  When can you break this? Only if you write for straight men (good luck finding that audience).

If we dream of perfection...why the hell not write about it too, right? Here's to you Stephenie Meyer! "Perfect" does not a
description make but at least you were honest when you said
you dreamed about it.
6) Use great English. Source: Universities and professors who speak of getting published but really have no clue. You have a towering education and can put together great sentences similar to Faulkner and Hemingway. Your command of symbolism is akin to Hawthorne. When can you break this? When you are any level of celebrity even if it is so low that your only claim to fame is impregnating a failed vice-presidential candidate's spawn who defrauds her own charity to pocket an extra $200,000 a year. Those Prada shoes gotta be paid for somehow.

7) Your characters must be white (Caucasian) with blue eyes. Source: Just about every book out there. Seriously, I challenge you to tell me of a debut author that had a traditional publishing contract with a black protagonist. Hitler would be so proud of today's publishing business. Also, despite being a part of the master race and looking sexy, the woman must pine at the ripe old age of 16 at never having been kissed. When can you break this? Only if you submit your manuscript to a small press. Minority issues just screams small press, doesn't it? Because they don't make the $$$$ like the big boys do. The big presses in New York City are all white wash baby. The other exception to this is of course...fame.

8) Provide advice on crafting an amazing novel. SOURCE: Just about everyone. You've gone to school for years, learned from the best professors at University of California, Irvine, Cornell, Stanford, Yale, Harvard...and you name it.  When can you break this? There are two occasions. The first is by starting a blog. This gives you the ability to provide everyone that visits your little slice of internet heaven your own version of writing advice even if you don't have a leg to stand on. The other is by being an agent. You graduated from an Ivy League school or similar institution and needed to pay rent so you went to work for the equivalent of the Wal-Mart of the writing world (think any huge agency). By that virtue can now tell anyone how to write even if you've never published anything yourself :).

If you have done all 8 things, you are ready to query. Let me know when you are published so I can be your sheeple. I bleat.

Did I miss anything? Happy Hump le Hump Day.


  1. The internet is ideal for niche marketing, where can I find a site for straight men who read? I mean come on, this whole porn fad has to have run its course by now, right?

  2. I AM George R.R. Martin
    I AM George R.R. Martin
    I AM George R.R. Martin

  3. "The first is by starting a blog. This gives you the ability to provide everyone that visits your little slice of internet heaven your own version of writing advice even if you don't have a leg to stand on."

    My ears are burning! Sadly the story I'm trying to market right now has a female white protag with blue eyes but it's still not selling. Guess I need some sparkly vampires.

  4. Wasn't the male MC in Across the Universe of a darker skin tone? Not black but not white. I forgot what they called it in the book.

  5. What race is the point of view character Brooke? Amy...right? White White White.

  6. Yes, according to one agent's blog recently -all- novels must have a love triangle. Period. If you don't have a love triangle, you don't really have a book. Or, at least, not one worth reading.

    I had a dinosaur response, but I've forgotten it, at the moment. And I have to run, so I'll have to get back to you on that.

  7. Hurry up and follow your own advice so we can move to Cali! :p

    Totally unrelated, that animated gif following rule #3 made me think of Pat Condell's bluntness.

    "Hi, I'm Pat Condell. I don't respect your (religious) beliefs and I don't care if you're offended. Cheers."

  8. Everyone that is anyone knows that Cali is where it's at. Even Tupac Shakur...and he's dead.

  9. My MC has a white father and a black mother. His skin tone is golden brown, he has sandy blonde hair (almost brown)and the sort of blue eyes that match the sky. To some it is a cliche or whatever, but that's how I first saw him in my head. And, a lot of bestselling MG books for boys have dark-haired MCs so I wanted one a little different.

    I will not defend my choice, because it works for my book, and I like him this way; however, this industry is archaic and I touched on this issue. I understand they have to go with what sells (and these "avian-race-people" do sell (sadly), but just once I'd like to see them take a risk. Just once I'd like to see a major Hollywood studio create a movie with a black lead who is not a gangsta or a slave. Just once I'd like to see an asian play the lead in a non-kungfu movie.

    Is this too much to ask for in the year 2011?

    They think people don't want to see or read these things, but they're WRONG! People aren't so simple minded anymore. This is not 40s.

    Can I get a AMEN? :)

  10. *laughs* there are no rules, that's for sure (no matter what they say).

    Write a good story and break 'em all.

  11. Michael -- you're hilarious. Extra credit for XKCD

  12. OMG I'm so ready to query I'm going to burst!

    Hot guys, romance, chicks, and it's all in English! Okay, the people aren't all white, but I can revise that to editorial order. And the gay people can be straightened out with a quick search-and-replace.

    I wanted to include a scene of someone dry-humping a sofa, like in The Corrections, but I am a *serious writer*.