Long before I wrote my first book “Olga – A Daughter’s Tale” (and at this stage my only one) I remember hearing a well known UK literary agent say in an interview on the BBC, somewhat sheepishly, “the chances of a new author getting published are just about impossible”.   So when I wrote my book I remembered those words and decided to self-publish since, at that time, I really only wanted the book for friends and family. 

Anyway after much researching on the web around the pitfalls and dangers of self-publishing I settled on a really good user friendly print on demand publishing website.  Another reason I was drawn to Lulu was reading an interview with it’s founder, Bob Young who also was the CEO of Red Hat Linux

Bob wanted to publish a book he’d written but couldn’t find a publisher to take it on, so recognising hundreds of other people would be in the same position, he founded so he could publish it himself!  I’ve found the drawback to self-publishing is the limited marketing strategy available and the answer is that you have to get out there and do it yourself.   

I read of a woman who had self-published and to fund her marketing plan she had re-mortgaged her home for $70,000 but, unfortunately, the article didn’t say how successful or not the plan had been.

It was sometime after I published on Lulu that I decided to try and find a literary agent or publisher.  I certainly didn’t realise when I started out on this journey that, two years later, I’d still be trying to get it published.  My plan was to approach maybe fifty or so literary agents and if nothing happened, I’d give up.  But I haven’t given up even after approaching over 100 agents.  

One of the most informative sites I refer to a lot is run by Gerard Jones who wrote a book called Ginny Good and has a website called 

The New York Times called it “one of the literary treasures of the web”!  It has thousands of names with email addresses (in 2007 Jones said the website contained over 20,000 names) of the most influential literary agents, talent agents, publishers, independent movie guys, movie studios, media guys, publicists and booksellers, etc in the US, UK and Canada.  I’ve used it myself many times and not only is it useful, it’s highly entertaining as well.  Jones has had many runs in with publishers who rejected his book and he puts some of their rejection letters and his reponses to them up on his site.  He’s doesn’t pull any punches and can be quite obnoxious when he’s saying, which he frequently does, how their actions have harmed the publishing industry.  I think this mainly refers to the fact that he considers his book a literary masterpiece and the agents and publishers are idiots (that’s a milder term than Gerard uses) because they can’t recognised a work of art when they see it.  And what they do publish, in his opinion, is crap!

Gerard Jones is one of the reasons I keep going – after Ginny Good was rejected thousands of times, he finally got a publisher!

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2 Responses to Influences

  1. tahliaN says:

    Hi Marie
    I just found your site via Australian Planet. It’s a tricky business this isn’t it. I’ve just entered the fray myself, but I’m hitting the main stream publishing road first, I’ll self publish later if my agent doesn’t find anyone to publish.

    Dispite what they say, there are new authors being published. I guess we just have to stand out and be in the right place at the right time.

    How did Lulu work out for you?

    Since you’re a writer you might like to take a look at my blog about the journey to publication of my YA fantasy novel, ‘Lethal Inheritance’. You can read ch1 of it there and postings about writing, challenges of the writer’s life and getting published. Things I’m sure you’ll be able to comment on.

  2. caroline says:

    Hello Marie,

    I found your blog after your comment on my comment, on facebook! Amazing we wrote the same thing…I agree this publishing game is so humbling. I even had an agent in London who believed in my book and thought it was a great story, and she still had trouble placing it.

    As far as self publishing goes, this marketing problem is going to be a nightmare for me. I am not a great speaker and being English, am pretty hopeless at self promotion. Here in America they all seem to be tought to be much more confident and open from a young age, in fact at school, they are almost taught to boast, and as a result this gets them through doors in later life that remain closed to others. we need to take a bold step and be a bit pushy!. No more standing aside saying “After you..” as we always do!

    Are you writing another book in the meantime? I know that the more books you have under your belt shows that you are a serious writer, and not just a one book wonder…


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