Saturday, February 27, 2010
In my home town, every year we have what’s called, “The Perth Writers Festival.” A fun day out, for writers and readers alike to talk books, writing, and the publishing industry. It takes place at the University of Western Australia over four days, encompassing a weekend that consists of a myriad of workshops, book launches, readings and talks by authors of all genres and publishers alike. Basically it’s my nirvana.
On Friday, I spent the full day there navigating the nuts and bolts of the Australian publishing industry and found many little gems along the way. I also discovered the truth about a myth that people, not just writers, believe about this industry.
“Knowing people in publishing will get you published.”
The old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
Yeah, it doesn’t work.
Okay, it might help. Perhaps it’ll get you out of the slush pile or a quicker response/rejection but that’s about it. Nobody publishes anybody who’s not as good as they say they are on paper.
I was fortunate enough to meet Garth Nix, an Australian young adult fantasy writer who has sold more than five million copies of his books around the world. The interesting thing about his C.V is that he’s worked as a book publicist, a publisher's sales representative, an editor, and literary agent before finally deciding to scrap all that and be a full-time writer. None of his contacts however, got him published. He still needed to find his own agent, work out the right door for his work and suffer countless rejection letters and personal doubt.
I thought this was incredibly interesting and strangely buoying. It’s good to know that nobody gets a free ride even the people you think probably would.
What do you think?