Catherine Ryan Howard has written an excellent post in which she discusses how our chances of getting a publishing deal are not equal:
Right now, the self-publishing evangelists would have you believe that it’s easier to get struck by lightning in the jaws of a shark while holding a winning lottery ticket than it is to get published, and statistically, they’re probably right. But as I’ve said before, the statistics take into account all of the books and all of the writers. If you’re a good or great writer, and you write a good or great book, and you write that book at the right time and the book ends up in the right place, then your chances are significantly improved. Then, instead of a pie in the sky dream of publication, your chances of seeing your book on the shelves becomes not only possible, but likely.
In her post, Catherine celebrates the publication of our mutual Twitter-friend, Maria Duffy, whose debut novel, Any Dream Will Do, was published last week.
I’ve been watching Maria’s progress over the last year or two and one thing has struck me about her: she works her socks off. She worked hard at her writing, she worked hard at submitting, and she’s worked hard with her editor to make her book the best that it can be: I have no doubt about her ability to behave professionally, and I’ll bet she’s going to grow as a writer for years to come. It’s wonderful to see this happen for her: she might have been lucky, but she’s created most of that luck for herself through hard work and determination, and she’s an example to us all.
The next time you hear anyone say that agents, editors and publishers won’t consider debut novelists I want you to show them this photograph of a stack of copies of Maria’s book on display in a major bookshop, right next to a similar stack of books by some bloke called Murakami. Any dream will do, I’m sure, but that’s a great one to have come true; and there’s a lot that we, as writers, can do to make it happen for us.