Vampire Myths: The Ones We Simply Can’t Kill

Do you have an authors’ or writers’ myth you’d love to kill? Ones that just keep going in defiance of all logic and reality? I have more than a few, and I’m collecting yours today, too!

Myth #1: The way to get published is to send your manuscript, in full, to a publisher or agent.
Why would they want your full manuscript before they ask for it? They have the instructions all over their sites, and all say to send queries or proposals. Many say that unsolicited manuscripts will be returned unopened. Believe them!

Myth #2: Editors will change your work until it sounds like them, not you.
Not if they’re any good, they won’t. The purpose of an editor is to help you figure out how your book can work better for the reader, while remaining true to your vision of it. That’s why one editor can have many very different, but excellent, authors on his or her list.

Myth #3: Editing is about fixing spelling and grammar.
That’s copyediting or maybe proofreading. Editing is about fixing the structure of the book, and the macro issues. Some of the small stuff may be caught along the way, but that’s not the point.

Myth #4: Big publishing is terrified of the self-publishing’s new modes, especially the e-book revolution.
Wish fulfillment, anyone? 99% of all manuscripts that float around are not worth publishing. They’re either so bad that it’s not worth trying to fix them, or they are good, but have a very limited market. So now, those manuscripts are going straight to ebook or being “POD published” (which is NOT the same as self-publishing with a POD printer). This is simply dumping the slush pile on an unsuspecting public, most of whom are showing the sterling good sense to buy elsewhere, or to do a pan review if they do accidentally purchase one.

Good stuff will sell, and be on the front pages of the on-line searches, and on bookstore shelves. And publishers still offer all the advantages that they always have. (Should this be another blog topic for later? Are you interested in this?)

I could keep going for a good long time, but I’ll give the rest of you a chance. What are your favorite myths? Skewer away!

7 Responses to “Vampire Myths: The Ones We Simply Can’t Kill”

  1. Mike Webster says:

    >publishers still offer all the advantages that they always have. (Should this be another blog topic for later? Are you interested in this?)

    Yes, this should be another blog topic for later. Am interested.

  2. Gayle Gross says:

    Thank you – great myth busters!

  3. JK Mahal says:

    “Myth #2: Editors will change your work until it sounds like them, not you. ”

    It would be wonderful if this was a myth, Unfortunately, I’ve known more than one published writer (published with a major house) who has found it to be the case that an editor wants to change their work beyond recognition. Agents are also guilty of this. Maybe my friends simply had bad editors (at different houses), but there’s enough of this behavior to make this myth have the tang of reality.

    • That is too bad. I haven’t worked with editors like that, but I’ve only worked with a couple of dozen over my career. I’m always saddened, when hearing of other people’s bad experiences in areas where I have only had good.

  4. Late to the fray, but how about:

    Pirates offering your book is good for sales.

    I’ve come across cases where piracy destroyed income. Before that I had underestimated its importance myself. But effort on fighting it should still be limited. Writing and selling are what is important [and yes, I should take my own advice]

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