The story of publishing

First thing’s first, let’s get a closer look at Ben’s beautiful chapter 2 artwork.

Click for a bigger version

How fantastic is that?  I particularly like how dynamic the poses are and the “unraveling” of Noal’s brace.  The characters are recognizable, but with Ben’s own twist and style oozing out of them.  A fantastic piece, and just the first of a number of chapter pieces to come!  For those who may have missed the last few posts, Ben is a professional artist who works for Bioware.  His professional history includes titles like Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age II.  As you can see, he’s been around.

Today I wanted to very briefly touch on the subject of publishing, which kind of explains the existence of this whole site.  There is a general belief around non-writers, and even among some writers as well, that publishing is a foregone conclusion.  You write a book, you show it to a publisher, and they publish it as easily as you would go into Staples and get a print made.

Unfortunately this is not the case.

Publishing is much more akin to an actor getting discovered.  You must audition for publishers.  Your book competes with thousands of other books vying for the publisher’s attention.  You spend sleepless nights refining your craft, writing your letters, and getting the word out.  In some cases you get lucky and just the right person at just the right publisher takes a chance on you.  More often than not, you languish in a pile of form letters that read “Dear <insert name here>.  We thank you for your interest in us, but we just feel your work isn’t right for our firm.  Sincerely, <insert publisher here>.” After enough of these, you may get discouraged and wonder what’s wrong with your writing.  Other times you get mad and decide “they just don’t get it,” or “my writing just isn’t commercial.”

As sour as I, or anyone else is about this state of affairs, the unfortunate truth is that publishing is a business.  Publishers are only human; they only have a limited staff with limited hours and limited budgets.  In most cases they simply don’t have the time to look at your actual book if your query letter (akin to a cover letter for a job application) doesn’t immediately grab their interest.

But make no mistake, these people are professionals.  They know what they’re doing, because in a lot of cases they’ve been through it themselves.  As upsetting as it can be to be brushed off, I learned that getting depressed or getting mad is not a useful response.  You can build a world of lies around yourself to protect your ego, or you can let your ego go and use that energy in the real world to make something happen for yourself.  This is what I did last year.  I sought some opinions, took criticism and used it to improve.  Writing is a craft and to know you are doing it right you should face some hard decisions.  Now I’m using that energy to build and maintain this site, to show the publishers that this is an idea worth supporting.

And if you’re reading this, that means you already are supporting Threads of Fate, and for that I’m eternally grateful.

Chapter 3 is just a week away!

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