Apr 11 2009

50 Hilarious Reasons No One Wants to Publish Your First Book

I recommend that you look at the entire list on Bookgasm, but here are some of the highlights.

8.  The market for Iron Chef slash-fiction isn’t quite as broad as you may have assumed.  “Oh, Morimoto,” Chef Batali sighed.  “Stuff me like a pepper!”

31. There’s a fine line between writing authentic regional dialogue and making all of your characters sound like stroke victims.

32. Be thankful that they merely refused to publish it.  After all, submitting a manuscript that ends with the protagonist realizing that it was just a dream (or was it?) usually causes the publisher to edit your face with a pair of brass knuckles.

36. God may have told you to write this book, but he apparently forgot to tell you how to give it a decent ending.

47. The entire point of your book has already been more satisfactorily made in a single strip of Family Circus.

20 responses so far

20 Responses to “50 Hilarious Reasons No One Wants to Publish Your First Book”

  1. Fitzon 11 Apr 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Dang! There goes all my ideas…

  2. Dforceon 11 Apr 2009 at 3:50 pm

    According to #3, all I have is radio now. Perhaps I can write an audio play– if I lived in the 20s…

  3. B. Macon 11 Apr 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Haha. The good news is that the publisher doesn’t have to use your picture. I suspect that mine won’t unless I send a heavily Photoshopped picture. True story: I have an average-looking friend that did a psych paper about Hot or Not. He managed to double his score on Hot or Not by spending an extra minute combing his hair and applying a few Photoshop filters to the picture.

    If you’re really good with PS and makeup, you can do stuff like this. (The Photoshopping begins at :40).

  4. Dforceon 11 Apr 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Wow. I knew the media was full of lies and illusions, but I gotta say I’m impressed. Now I gotta figure a way to bring the outdoor media to their knees– possibly with some kneck-stretching device; you know, for the lulz.

  5. Holliequon 11 Apr 2009 at 4:17 pm

    They showed us that in school to say “Don’t try to look like a model in a magazine! You’ll never get there!” It was quite honestly the most depressing thing I have ever seen.

    The list is funny too. I liked the one about alternate historical fiction.

  6. B. Macon 11 Apr 2009 at 4:32 pm

    PS: When you write your query, please do not tell them that you were inspired to write the book by God or a dream. In fact, it’s probably not necessary to explain why you chose to write it. But if you are going to give a reason, please give one that doesn’t make you sound hard to work with and/or schizophrenic.

  7. Dforceon 11 Apr 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Perhaps lead off with, “I find that books in X field leave something to be desired and fail in the following areas… that is why I’ve chosen to write this book.” (Or is it a must to write “I’ve” like “I have”?).

  8. Dforceon 11 Apr 2009 at 5:03 pm


  9. B. Macon 11 Apr 2009 at 5:28 pm

    Dforce said: “I find that books in X field leave something to be desired…”

    I recommend writing in a more authoritative voice, particularly if you’re directing your query to an agent rather than a publisher. Err on the side of being overconfident rather than underconfident; your agent can help you tone it down later if they like the concept.

    “Readers will prefer my book to its leading competitors because of X and Y.” Don’t be hyperbolic–just lay out your case with logic and verve. Instead of making it sound like “well, it’s my opinion that this might sell,” I’d recommend shooting for something like “this is why you should believe that this book will sell.”

  10. Ragged Boyon 11 Apr 2009 at 5:56 pm

    It is true that the fashion industry photoshops about 90% of their shoots, but I doubt it’s too the extent of that video everytime, or even most of the time. I’m biased because I love the fashion industry, though. Call me crazy, but I like that it has a dark side, too. I think it’s depressingly real and fake at the same time. Perfect deceptive balance. 🙂

  11. Ragged Boyon 11 Apr 2009 at 6:59 pm

    That was an amusing list. I suspect #3 wouldn’t be a problem for me. I’m a natural in front of the camera. 😉

  12. Ragged Boyon 11 Apr 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Unfortunately, I doubt that model could use that picture in her portfolio. It’s too heavily photoshopped, it doesn’t even look like her. That’s more evidence to support my opinion of photoshopping and fashion. A face can only be photoshopped so much before it looks completely different, if all shoots were like this, the industry would probably experience delirium.

    “Is that Kate Moss?”

    “No, it’s Linda Evangelista”

    “Linda!? that’s obviously Mae West.”

    “Mae West!?!”

  13. Bretton 11 Apr 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Haha. I passed! Yeah! Now to finish my manuscript(s). lol

  14. B. Macon 11 Apr 2009 at 8:07 pm

    I’m not sure whether to take this number at face-value, but an article in the February edition of Men’s Health said that 100% of cover-models are digitally enhanced. (They made a joke out of that, so I’m not sure whether the number was meant to be facetious). A dieting blog also suggests that 100% of cover-models are retouched.

  15. Ragged Boyon 11 Apr 2009 at 8:09 pm

    I’m sure there’s at least minor digital editing for blemishes, discoloration, and the like. I could believe 100%.

  16. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 11 Apr 2009 at 9:53 pm

    “37. You may want to revise the query letter you’re sending to agents so it’s more about the book and less about how much you love kittens.”

    But I love kittens! Haha. Nah, I’m actually more of a dog person. With a dog you have a friend, with a cat you have a master.

  17. Stefan the Exploding Manon 11 Apr 2009 at 11:15 pm

    #49 was my favourite. If there really was a book containing the complete lyrics to One Million Bottles of Beer on the Wall, I would buy several copies and give them to friends on their birthdays. Should be worth a couple of laughs.

  18. B. Macon 12 Apr 2009 at 5:59 am

    If there really was such a book, it’d be something like 20 million words long. That’s a heavy gag gift. 🙂

  19. Holliequon 12 Apr 2009 at 6:23 am

    I’m not sure I’d want to give my friends a gag-gift that also doubles as a weapon. That’s just asking for trouble.

  20. Wingson 13 Apr 2009 at 7:52 pm

    This is reminding me of the Calvin and Hobbes strip when Calvin threatens to sing “Ten BILLION Bottles of Beer On The Wall”.

    I’d buy one and keep it to use on enemies.

    *whacks a boy I know*

    Take this, sucker!

    – Wings – mwahahaha!

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