Rejection Isn’t Personal: It’s Business as Usual in Publishing

self-publish, publishingAn author of self-published, bestselling zombie e-novels (a phenomenon that will be the subject of a future post), said that a reason he decided to self-publish was not only the continuing rejection from traditional publishers. But a specific rejection. In fact, it was the way one particular rejection, or mass rejection, was handled that decided his path.

Author Jeremy Laszlo had  been submitting books to traditional publishers, getting no traction, when he received an unsettling and life-changing email. As he describes it in an article on the Daily Dot, “It was supposed to be an interoffice email from the publishing house I had submitted to… And it was a couple of their interns joking back and forth. One of them said, ‘I just batch-rejected 600 authors.’ But they accidentally hit reply all and all the authors were included. They were joking about how they weren’t even reading any of the submissions.”

Sure, publishers and agents are still swamped with submissions, and most publishers refuse to look at unsolicited manuscripts, considering only those that come from agents. But the callousness of two interns brushing aside the work of writers was enough to lead Laszlo toward another path: doing it on his own. With stories such as this it’s little wonder that self-publishing has taken off. And while this particular instance might have been egregious, it’s probably not inaccurate to say that more writers are told no by publishers that are overwhelmed by writers wanting to be published.

So rather than let a small coterie of insiders choose what the public will see, more authors are doing it for themselves, and letting the public decide what it wants rather than a put-upon editor (or unthinking intern). Of course, the biggest sellers in self-publishing are genre novels – horror, romance, mystery and thriller. But then, they’re among the biggest in traditional publishing too.

A quarter of the bestselling titles on Amazon’s Kindle bestseller list are self-published. So even if your work is unlikely to be reviewed by traditional media, if you’re an author of genre fiction, you’re more likely to find readers on your own than with the help of a big publisher.

Still, traditional publishing is more important for business books and general nonfiction. An entrepreneur wants that kind of visibility, and self-published nonfiction is still building an audience. Nevertheless, if you’ve got a great idea, you’ve also got more options than before.

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