The Publishing Paradox

Walk into any bookstore or library and you quickly get the impression that any fool can get a book published, because clearly so many have. But try to do it yourself, and it turns out to be so exceedingly tricky that many talented writers give up in disgust and despair.

It’s not like the supply of good writing is ridiculously greater than the demand. The demand is vast, and the supply is surprisingly poor — ask any agent/editor who has ever had to deal with a slush pile.

This is the publishing paradox, and it has tormented me for thirty years. How do so many writers manage accomplish to the nearly impossible? Why is it so hard to break into such a fecund industry? After many years of puttering around the margins of it, I was so intimidated by that I turned to self-publishing as soon as the internet made it viable, and today I make a much better living this way than I ever expected to in traditional publishing. Yahtzee?

But bookstores and libraries have never stopped haunting me. I still want to be a part of that. I still want a slice of that vast and yet strangely elusive pie. It seems strange to me that I haven’t already, strange that it is still so difficult despite my skills an accomplishments.