Yesterday, an otherwise very good panelist said:
Publishers are only interested in you as an author if you're famous or infamous. Publishers are gamblers. If you were to go to the horse racing track, would you gamble on a horse that's had a good track record, or one who's never raced before?
[At this point a woman in the audience stood up and cried out, "That's not true!" Another said, "Hey, what about debut novelists?" He continued:]
You hear about these things--they're newsworthy--because they're VERY rare. Fiction is all about selling a name. Unless you're a Picasso or a Renoir [not sure how we got to talking about art], they aren't interested.
Mmm...kay. This logic presupposes two things:
- All current fiction writers entered the market as debut novelists WITH bestselling books somehow already under their proverbial belts, and
- All fiction writers are immortal and will keep writing forever. Otherwise, by this logic, at some point, all existing Picassos and Renoirs would, eventually, die out, and we'd be bookless.
Don't bother with traditional publishing. Take it from me: They are not interested in your work.She said this without knowing anything about our work. Had we professed to being proud writers of alien abduction memoirs and "I love my cat" books? No.
I hope someone in that room sold a book to a major publisher just to spite her. And then spent some of the advance on a fancy website that says how much s/he loves the publisher.
So, yes. I highly recommend these conferences. But know that some of the people there may be in self publishing because they're angry at traditional presses. Keep your critical thinking cap on at all times.