Nothing Ventured, NOTHING Gained

I went to that “how to get published” seminar thing last night. I shouldn’t say it was a complete waste of my time, but all in all, it pretty much was. The event was hosted by 3 published authors, one of whom is the author of 24 books. The other two women are newly published authors and all three were pleasant enough. The audience was made up of about 30 or people, most of whom came in just prior to the beginning of the meeting, and some close to an hour in. They quickly touched on several topics such as self publishing (don’t do it), e-books as opposed to regular books and the profit differential between each, that one should have an agent and submitting queries to same. Several useful websites and books were mentioned that range in topics from helping to find what markets are selling to how to approach agents/publishers. But none of the topics was discussed in any great detail.

One certain audience member kept insisting on asking questions about how to get poetry published, even though he was told more than once, and rather politely to be sure,  the main topic for the meeting was fiction. I raised my hand finally, tiring of hearing the same questions in his broken (read: slaughtered) English hoping to get back to the topic of submissions, by asking first, of all three hostesses, what the time frame was between submission to publication. 3 months was the general consensus. Really? When I told them I was there to hopefully find some helpful hints on how I could possibly tweak my query yet one more time on top of however many incarnations it has taken over the last five years, I was told “tweak” was a good word and it was on to another question.

I really think this group was geared more for people who have little or no prior knowledge of just how tough it is to get published. Quite a few of the publishers they mentioned have already rejected me. Most of the websites that were mentioned, I already have saved in my favorites in my computer. And I could wallpaper my house with the pages from the books and magazines I’ve gone through they suggested reading. I really didn’t come away with any new useful information that I haven’t already encountered these past years, but it was worth a shot. They really should have had someone speaking who was in a similar predicament like me, someone who can’t get the time of day from an agent or publisher to exemplify the bumps in the otherwise smooth road they were talking about; do this, this and this and you’ll get published. Well, all I got out of it was that they were trying to paint a more flowery picture of the world of publishing than it really is, although they did admit to one caveat; that it’s very competitive.

Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained, they say, and that was true last night. Nothing gained. But how would I know if I didn’t go?

Here’s  last night’s American Idol.


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