In the United States the biggest large market book publishers do not accept unsolicted submissions and have a choke-hold on all the large markets and decide what you will read by way of what they make available to you. There are five large market publishers, and they are affectionately called, “The Big Five” amongst anyone who wants to even have a chance of being successful writing a new novel.
- Harper Collins
- Penguin Random House
- Simon & Shuster
Now for those of you who do not know, in order to score a traditional book deal from one of these Big 5, one has to go through the “gate keepers,” these are literary agents that represent an authors work to the publishers.
Well, that sounds easy enough. It isn’t.
Matter of fact, it is one of the most insane acts of desparation you could think of.
Keeping the goal in mind, all you need is one yes. But in order to get one yes, (and I really need to recuse myself here because I’ve never even got a maybe) you have to go through the most horrendous series of constant rejections. If you’re lucky, most of the time you hear nothing back at all.
On QueryTracker, a website to find said literary agents, most of them have a rejection rate of over 98%, some its closer to 99.9%
To make matters worse, when you might be feeling down and at your worse, when you really start to lose confiedence and go through a severe self-examination driven by low self-esteem and crumbling confidence, you might see some of these people on YouTube explaining “Why Your Manuscript Sucks”.
So, I watched a couple of these videos, and suffered through a myraid of laughing, giggling, recent college grads with fresh English degrees explaining the minute details of query submisions. That is what the process of groveling for their attention is called: query submissions.
It is interesting that it is called “Submission.” Because it is. Pure submission to a group of people who determine winners and losers based on creativity and pure technical mechanics. But creativity and mechanics are secondary, to the primary goal of Submission.
I’m not really even sure those three things exist in anybody at the same time: Submission, Creativity, and Mechanics. They seem to be born of different worlds.
And for those of you who value creativity and dare to think outside the box of a standard query submission: you lose. Rejected (not even read).
That’s kind of the problem with this system. All of them are just looking for whatever “un” submissive thing they can find and fold out the first obstacle just to send you a Rejection form letter. Get it? A form letter, for not submitting correctly. Which means, after you spend months writing a manuscript, and hours making the query, they hit a button and a machine spits out a form letter of rejection to you.
And it happens over and over and over again.
Unless your LGBQ+, under-represented, or anything other than what I am. A plain ole white male.
According to the New York Times, people who identify as LGBQ+ has gone up to 7% in the United States in 2022. But book sales of LGBQ+ have risen 20%, a lot of that in children’s books, and 40% of those represent bi-sexuality over the others in that acronymn.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say anything is wrong with that. I have many, many people in my life, I love that fit into some of those categories, and I’m glad they are being represented.
I’m not in any of those groups, but strongly considering identifying with a few of them, if nothing else than to get a literary agent. I will if it helps.
But shoot, all I’m trying to say is, that I can relate a little bit. As now I have started writing in an era where the competition is fierce and the rejection is high. More than high, continuous and repeating.
And to go on YouTube and hearing the childish giggling of literery agents making jokes about rejecting author’s manuscripts for some small infringement of their standard SUBMISSION….
You know I’ve just never been very good at SUBMISSION, it’s not really my thing. I’m too creative for that. I draw outside the lines. You would think that is what these people would want to see.
I would actually like to see a YouTube video on what literary agents actually do when they are not busy predicting winners and dashing the hopes of authors. Like, do they get the same treatment by the Big 5. Is that why they seem to have lost their humanity?
If so, it makes me glad I got my Masters in Business Administration. Maybe sometime I can save enough money to buy their agency and do things different. Until then, I will continue to absorb the bad vibes…until I just say f—it and publish independently on Amazon, like I have with the last three novels I’ve written. All I’m asking for is a chance. Is that too much?