There’s a persistent myth, I think, that getting published is all about who you know, that you’ll never sell a book unless you have a personal connection to someone in the publishing world. But it is a myth—I promise you, it’s a myth. If getting published was really all about who you know, I would have been published YEARS before I actually was.
I do have connections to the publishing world. Many of them, in fact. My father was an author when I was very small, and published several novels. My mother was an editor with a (now extinct) New York publishing house. And let me here and now confess that when I was 21 years old, just out of college and desperately hoping to become an author, I had no real scruples about using those connections. I tried it. My parents contacted old friends among the literary agents crowd and helped me craft query letters. But here’s the thing: it didn’t help. At best, it got my manuscripts read, led to some requests for the first 50 pages of my books. But I simply hadn’t written a publishable book yet, and the answer I always got back was a polite but regretful “no thanks.” [Read more…]