Write Wow!

Writing tips and techniques from the publisher of Swimming Kangaroo Books. Send your 3-page writing sample to be critiqued to dindy@swimmingkangaroo.com with the word "critique" in the subject heading. Your submission will be critiqued on the blog, but your name will not be used unless you give permission.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Why Good Writers Don't Get Published

After a discussion among my authors about why their works were rejected, I put forth the following suggestions:

As far as why so many good writers have a hard time getting published, and why it’s so hard to sell short stories, here are some reasons from my own experience:

1. We can only buy so many short stories because of space and time limitations. Among the ones we buy, we need to make sure we have a variety of styles, genres and sub-genres. If we have our quota of stories about polka dot cyborgs, we aren’t going to take any more.

2. On a similar vein but slightly different, we don’t publish stories about telepathic hippos because our publisher hates hippos.

3. Because we have a story by Mr. Big Name writer in this issue, we can’t take two other stories that are actually better but nobody’s ever heard of those authors.

4. The story is 5000 words long, but we only have room for a 3000 word story,

5. The story is 1500 words long, but we need 2000 words to fill the space.

6. I like both these stories but I met this person at a convention last year so I’m going with his story.

7. Aw! It’s a story about cats! I love cats! Sure, it needs some work but the cats are so cute. Forget about all these others, we’re taking this one.

8. This is a great story, but every story in this issue was written by an orange alien from Alpha Centauri. We’d better look for something by a blue spaceman from Mars or else the Martians will complain that we are discriminating against them.

9. I’m in a really crappy mood today so I’m not taking anything unless the author’s name is JK Rowling.

10. These 5 stories are all terrific but I can only take one of them. I’ll throw a dart to see which one gets the nod.

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