Risk is the Price of Progress

Published by on June 17, 2016
Categories: Uncategorized

Dear Publishers and Agents,

From reading some of my posts, you might infer I hate you.

I. Do. Not.

In fact, I totally understand the role a publisher and agent plays in the success of a book and its author — I think I’ve covered those in previous posts, and I’m looking forward to the day I find one that I can work with profitably and for a long time.

I understand that you have a massive rush of product coming at you and, like Regis Philbin who once famously said “I’m only one man”, it can be overwhelming.

To handle that avalanche, many P&As began laying down rules of engagement that, frankly, only caused everybody more work and began the Age of Acrimony.

All I care about is whether or not you can sell a book in such a way that we make money. You don’t ask how I do my job. I don’t ask how you do yours. You don’t tell me how to do mine. I won’t tell you how to do yours. Until, that is…

You see, when a P&A starts out with the assumption that their time is worth more than mine, and they lay down rule after changing rule delineating that engagement as if I am a stupid, lazy, idiotic writer with nothing better to do than bother them, now we’ve got a problem. Now I’m going to find out what the heck is going on. Now I’m going to have an opinion about the subject. Now I’m going to speak up.

Publishers and agents wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for the likes of people such as me.


People who spend untold amounts of time building new universes, telling lies that contain greater truths, crafting tales that entertain.

People who have only hope that somebody will want to buy their book.

People who, when you divide the profit they make by the hours they’ve put into it, for the most part aren’t making minimum wage.


Thus the need for planning for the long haul. Thus the one-book author that can make a lifetime income is rare — and no way to know for certain which that will be.

Name any author that you think is a household name and you will see a pattern of this:

Author writes.

Agent talks it up to publishers.

Publisher sells it to the public.

This takes planning and foresight.

I so look forward to the time an agent and/or publisher and I find a mutually beneficial working arrangement.

You know, like Michael Connelly or David Cornwell or Frederick Forsyth or any other multi-book author who understands the necessity of keeping the pipeline full of high-quality product and building upon the foundations already laid.

You see, before these people wrote their first book, they were just like me. Juggernauts-in-waiting.

Several somebodies took risks and progress was made.


I more P&As these days understood that it is a business, and stopped wearing their heart and ego on their sleeves.

Oh, I cannot wait to find a real agent and a real publisher. But sometimes I think they are like this:

From en.wikipedia.org

From en.wikipedia.org