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78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published and 14 Reasons Why It Just Might Paperback – May 31, 2005


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78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published and 14 Reasons Why It Just Might + The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile + Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; First Paperback Edition edition (June 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143035657
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143035657
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #844,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Walsh mercilessly presents the cold, hard facts about why authors don't get published: " You think too highly of yourself," "You missed your first-chance glance" and "You scare away agents," along with 75 other dispiriting reasons. This tough-love approach aims to enlighten writers committed to their craft and discourage those who are all talk and no work. A founding editor of the literary publisher MacAdam/Cage, Walsh has spent a good deal of time reading lousy submissions, and he points out some common errors made by novices. His advice can sound more like an editor's exasperation (say, with writers who can't take criticism) than helpful tips. Walsh also describes the bottom-line world of publishing, which, he says, views books as products rather than cherished works of art. He provides basic information about agents, auctions and promotion. What saves this manual from being hectoring is the author's humor and clear-eyed awareness of the difficulties involved in getting even an outstanding book published. On a more positive note, he recommends that rejected authors cultivate patience and flexibility (i.e., learning from mistakes). Many readers may simply skip to book's end to get to the scant good news. Agent, Amy Rennert.(May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

What writer wants to read about all the reasons he or she might not be published? The serious one, according to Walsh, and that's just who he's addressing in this handy guide to the pitfalls writers need to avoid if they hope to see their work in print. Aiming his advice at writers who have already completed a novel, Walsh runs through some common missteps, such as sending out first drafts, refusing to revise, or approaching agents without doing the proper research. Walsh is not a pessimist but rather a realist; he concludes on a hopeful note, suggesting that if writers are practical, persistent, and have a good book, they just might get published. One of the founding editors of MacAdam/Cage, Walsh offers his advice in an acerbic but straightforward manner. An excellent primer on the realities of today's publishing world. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

I am not a writer but I like to read and enjoying reading good books.
yonder
If you are a published author but your book has been published by either a POD or self published, then you need to read this book ... NOW!
Jerry Minchew
Even after having published six books, I still like to read "how to" books.
April Henry

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Tim Warneka on January 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
I'm not big on long reviews, but this book definitely caught my attention. So here goes...

I feel pretty mixed about this book. On the one hand, Walsh offers a seemingly realistic view of the publishing field. On the other, as a "how to" book, Walsh falls far short on the giving advice beyond the surface level, something I was looking for from the founding editor of an independent publisher.

On the plus side, I found Walsh's book to be witty, funny and matching my experience with the publishing world -- that getting published involves "...an unholy amount of work and a great deal of time." I appreciate his focus on writing well and completing your book (I've read some book proposals recently that were absolutely horrendous).

My take-aways from this book included:

1. Finish your book.

2. Write well.

3. Don't self-publish

4. Stay out of the slush pile.

5. If you don't have an agent, forgeddabouhdit.

While I agree with the first two points, I found myself less willing to take Walsh's word on the last 3...

On the negative side, Walsh seems to miss following his own logic.

1. Early on in the book, he tells a story of a misguided young woman he met who (erroneously, Walsh seems to think) believes that getting published is more about who you know, and then proceeds to make that exact argument throughout the rest of his book (that is, if you don't know an agent, you'll never get published.)

2. The ONLY writer who can acceptably write anything along the lines of "I was too lazy to look this up" is Dave Barry, who is writing for laughs. Walsh uses this phrase several times throughout his book, which I find inexcusable.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Thomas D. Kehoe on April 7, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought five books to help me write a book proposal:

"How to Write a Book Proposal, 3rd edition," by Michael Larsen

"78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published & 14 Reasons Why It Just Might," by Pat Walsh

"The Forest for the Trees," by Betsy Lerner

"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Published, 4th edition," by Sheree Bykofsky and Jennifer Basye Sander

"Think Like Your Editor," by Susan Rabiner and Alfred Fortunado

The worst was "How to Write a Book Proposal." This book felt like a bad date, like I wanted to wash my hair after reading it. The intent is to teach you to be an "Authorpreneur (r)." Yes, Larsen has registered this word. You'll learn such gems as everyone has 250 friends, and each of them has 250 friends, so you can "spread the word" about your book to more than 62,000 people by e-mail. I think there's a word for that -- spam. Larsen also says to include your promotion plan in the book proposal, including pushing "the paperback edition as hard as you can" when it's published a year after the hardcover edition. I'm not an agent or editor, but I'd think that an agent would giggle quietly to themselves if you were so presumptuous as to include a marketing plan for the paperback edition. (To the author's credit, he doesn't say you should suggest which actor should play the main character in the movie version of your book.) Then there's the chapter about including illustrations and cover art. Excuse me, I thought the editor and art director develop the cover art? I can't imagine creating the book cover to include in the proposal. And the author recommends including a "surprise," such as a baby shoe with a note saying "Now that I have a foot in the door." The book has one good piece of advice: pick a good title.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Kearney VINE VOICE on October 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
There are a number of books about getting books published, and sometimes I think I won them all and have read them all. As a matter of fact, I sometimes wonder if I spent as much time writing as I do reading about writing, I'd be published by now. What I usually find is that I get one or two good tips from the writing books. I also find a good deal of contradictory advice. For example, one may say join a writing group and another will sing the praises of small groups. Some espouse keeping journals, others do not. Most will say that getting published is hard, but not impossible, especially for the person reading the book. Of course there are no stats available that say how many people who actually read these books are ever published.

One newer book that I have found informative and hopefully helpful is Pat Walsh's SEVENTY EIGHT REASONS WHY YOUR BOOK MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED AND FOURTEEN REASONS WHY IT JUST MIGHT. The author is the founder of an independent press and has come across very manuscript possible. He also tried his hand at fiction before beginning his career in publishing. While Walsh believes that writers have to have a story to tell and have to be true to the vision they have for their work, he knows that desire and talent are not enough. He mentions the importance of persevering, listening to good critical advice, not being blind as to the work's greatness or perceived greatness, and knowing the subject matter well. Much of what he says about writing can be found in other sources, but he says it in a serious but humorous manner that sounds intimidating but after thinking about it is just plain and practical truth. He is frank, but eh does have the best interest of writers at heart. I found his information about publishing most helpful.
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