Wednesday, March 26, 2008


The Odds of Getting Published

I read this today:
Yes, the odds are long. Don't get discouraged, but it's best to go into the submission process with your eyes open.

Some points to consider:

One agent recently told me she receives over 200 unsolicited manuscripts and query letters on her desk every week. Can you imagine that she has time to give all those submissions a carefully considered reading?

According to one survey of the publishing industry, 3 manuscripts out of every 10,000 submitted are actually published. Of those, only 1 out of 10 will actually turn a profit.

Depending on which survey you believe, the average salary for a published writer is between $2000-$7000 a year. Most writers keep their day jobs. Very few hit the bestseller lists, especially on their first time around. Yes, there are exceptions, but people win the state lottery a lot more often.

Personally, I am going to take Han Solo's attitude toward surviving an asteroid field, and apply this against the odds of publishing.

I've been told that calculating the odds of selling a manuscript based on number of submissions is meaningless. Most slush is unpublishable (Having waded through slush for 2 years, I can attest to this) and if one's submission is among that quality the odds of selling are 0.

The odds of selling a good and original story are pretty good. The odds of selling a great story are even better.

The hard part is writing a great story, not getting someone to buy it.
Well, then it, sounds like you and Han Solo agree.
"Never tell me the odds!"
Someone had to say it!
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