It is largely within your power to determine whether a publisher will buy your work and whether the public will buy it once it’s released . . . Failures abound because hardly anybody treats getting published as if it were a rational, manageable activity—like practicing law or laying bricks—in which knowledge coupled with skill and application would suffice to ensure success.
— JUDITH APPELBAUM and NANCY EVANS, How to Get Happily Published
I suspect that if any current product, be it an automobile, a vacuum cleaner, or whatever were to be honestly described, there would be few takers. Books are no exceptions. You cannot permit them to come barefaced into being. They must be cosmetized, bewigged, perfurmed, given padding where needed for the sake of appearance.
– DONALD MacCAMPBELL, The Writing Business
Would you try to sell your car without washing it, or your house without tidying it? Your manuscript or proposal is a product that you are trying to sell to a publisher, so make it a quality product.
— STEWART FERRIS, How to Get Published: Secrets from the Inside, emphasizing the importance of editing.
Your spouse, your children, your friends, and your family are usually bad judges of your writing . . . The only people’s opinions that can help you are those who do not care about you at all.
— PAT WALSH, 78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published and 14 Why It Just Might Be
I think the big myth in this business is that quality will win out, that cream will rise to the top. It’s a misconception that I labored under when I was first getting into the business . . . What I learned is that the whole industry is driven by what I call The Big Push. Every publishing house sits down a few months prior to publication of its next list and makes a decision about which books get The Big Push. Very often, it’s the books that they pay the most money for.
— RICK HORGAN, HarperCollins executive editor, in Book Editors Talk to Writers edited by Judy Mandell
My view is that to sit back and let fate play its hand out and never influence it at all is not the way man was meant to operate.
— JOHN GLENN, U. S. Senator and astronaut, quoted in New York Magazine, January 31, 1983
On the door to success it says Push and Pull.
— Yiddish proverb
Authors have figured out they don’t need publishers to publish books.
— JENN WEBB, “Five things we learned about publishing in 2011,” http://radar.oreilly.com/2011/
The electronic revolution seems not only to be legitimizing self-publishing, but institutionalizing it.
— RICHARD CURTIS, http://www.publishersweekly.co
Don’t self-publish because you think it will be easier than trying to find an agent and a publisher. It won’t. Self-publishing is a tremendous amount of work.
— M. J. ROSE and AMY EDELMAN, “Tough Love: Things No One is Brave Enough to Tell Self-Published Authors,” Huffington Post, May 17, 2011
Self-publishing will consume all the time, concentration and energy you’ve got. If you don’t want to commit your soul to the project, forget it.
— MARK ALVAREZ, Home-Office Computing, February 1992
The job of the publishing manager is not to perform every task, but to see that everything gets done.
— DAN POYNTER, The Self-Publishing Manual
Today’s impatient readers give a novelist fewer than seven minutes . . . Therefore, whenever an author told me that his novel really got going on page ten or twenty or thirty, I had to pass on the news that his book in all likelihood was doomed unless he could revise it so that the first three pages aroused the reader’s interest enough to quarantine him from. distraction for the several hours the book demanded of him.
— SOL STEIN, Stein on Writing
Literary success of any enduring kind is made by refusing to do what publishers want, by refusing to write what the public wants, by refusing to accept any popular standards, by refusing to write anything to order.
— LAFCADIO HEARN (who’s he?)
Painstaking research proves that one of America’s greatest authors may in fact have been readable.
— Headline, National Lampoon article, January 1984.
With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable.
— THOMAS BUXTON, British philanthropist, quoted in The World’s Best Thoughts on Success & Failure compiled by Eugene Raudsepp
Nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance. Talent will not; nothing in this world is more common than men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Perseverance and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan `Press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
—Attributed to U.S. President CALVIN COOLIDGE in the program for his memorial service, 1933