How the World Works
They Don’t Sell
Remember, kids, nobody will publish your short story collection unless you’re already an established author, because they don’t sell.
Retrospective Re-evaluation of Success to Give the Illusion of Struggle
“His novel sold well. “It was an okay living from the first day,” he said. But, he adds, “I was not an immediate success. I was an immediate cult hit. It was really 10 years before I was what you would call a real success. People mis-remember it. They think it happened overnight. It didn’t. … Continue reading
He Struggled for Years Without Success Before Deciding to Quit. Then This Happened!
FARMINGTON NM–Robert Pritchard’s dream from childhood was to become a writer. He wrote something like ten novels over twenty years, plus dozens of short stories. He submitted them to many publishers and agents, without luck. “A few short stories were published in obscure venues, for like ten or twenty dollars” he said. “They were all … Continue reading
Million Word Theory
In the 2000 movie Boiler Room, a recruiter, Ben Affleck, gives a roomful of prospective employees this pitch: “If you become an employee of this firm you will make your first million within three years. Okay? I’m gonna repeat that: you will make a million dollars within three years of your first day of employment at … Continue reading
Annals of Superhuman Persistence, Vol. VII
All successful writers went through immense suffering and agonizingly long periods of rejection before becoming successful. We know this because they constantly tell us. But what did this suffering consist of, and how does it compare with the suffering of unsuccessful writers? In 2015 George Saunders wrote some recollections of his early years in an … Continue reading
Notions, Concepts, and Ideas
In “Annie Hall,” when they go to LA, at a party at Paul Simon’s house, one “Hollywood player” is heard saying to another, “Right now it’s just a notion, but I think I can get the money to make it a concept, and later turn it into an idea.” We know that the recent Star … Continue reading
History of a Submission
Story submitted 11:32 AM, Saturday, May 21, 2016 (all times have been converted from the present writer’s Mountain Daylight Time to Arizona’s Mountain Standard Time) At 11:34 AM position in queue: 91
Hierarchy of Quality
You are Katherine Heiny, and when you’re 24, you write a second-person short story for an MFA creative writing workshop at Columbia University¬ — “How to Give the Wrong Impression,” about a graduate student who is secretly in love with her male roommate — and you send it out to 31 literary journals, all of which … Continue reading
“I never would have continued as a writer if The Temple of Gold had not been taken by the first publisher I sent it to. I’m not that masochistic. There was no way I was going to write anymore. I didn’t know that then, but I know it now. There was no encouragement; no one ever said … Continue reading
Nepotism is Great!
Nepotism is much maligned among losers without famous and rich parents, but in the most exclusive clubs in America, the truth is whispered: nepotism is great! Nepotism is the lifeblood on which our society runs. If you don’t believe me, just ask its beneficiaries. I mean, who are you going to trust: a bunch of … Continue reading