Why Authors Need Publishers November 18, 2015

It took Roald Dahl seven years before finding a publisher for “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach”. Most publishers didn't fancy his dark humor. If you heard the story about his daughter, whose close mate at school happened to be the daughter of the publisher, then you might wondered if there was any truth to it. Let's say the rest was history. And then there was Peter Weir. The Internet provided many avenues to promote an author's works. Weir chose to post "The Martian" one chapter at a time. The growing number of enthusiastic responses led to publishers to notice his novel. And the Californian took his time before choosing the one who would give him the best deal.

If you're an English major, then it's likely that authorship will be one of your career options. If not, then this is what you really want to do later in life. It's fine if you won't admit it, as you don't like rejection. You're young. You're fragile. And you can be full of yourself at times. Unfortunately, rejection is commonplace in the publishing industry. It won't change anytime soon.

There's no need to be disheartened. Writing books and having it published is a business. Although writers will insist they are artists, they must look at their works as products. This mindset will help them. Others will resort to social media, even self promotion from their respective blogs. Online visitors can be a capricious lot, though.

If you're an English major, then you wonder how you'll deal with the situation. It will happen sooner or later. Here are some suggestions:

Live and write. It will be pointless to try too hard to please a publisher. You should know that reading can be a subjective matter. Not everyone will fancy your writings, even your (writing) style. So write what you like. Gain new experiences, which will give you an idea for a new paper (or book). And remember life goes on.

Go places. H. Rider Haggard would be green with envy if he was alive now. Budget airlines. Cheap accommodations. Travel blogs. He might have been more prolific. He would pen another book, which would be more daring than "King Solomon's Mines". The world is out there, and it's waiting to be discovered. And no two travellers will have the same experience. Money won't be an issue, as long as you're resourceful enough. In fact, walking the campus grounds can be considered as a travelling experience. It's all about attitude.

What is outside the university can be more daunting than you think. If you complain about your assignments, then you might give up on your literary aspirations. Publishers won't take kindly on your grammatical errors. And the things you hold dear may be frivolous to them. Don't take it too hard. As a matter of fact, don't fret if you miss a deadline. (The secretary of the English Department can be your guardian angel with thick-rimmed glasses.) Never lament a bad day.

Writers hardly take a rest. Good writers are perceptive. They often observe, which can be tiresome. Many will write about their experience for a fraction of an accountant's salary. Some will be happy to share it. No need to be despondent. There are many options to consider. And you only need to be flexible when it matters. Believe in your talent. Know when to take a break. Health is wealth.

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