A brief but enlightening conversation about publishing…

Setting: My House, Dinnertime…

Players: Well-Meaning and Supportive Relative, Me…


Relative – Hey, Katy, how’s that book you’re working on coming along?

Me – Really well, actually. I’m moving pretty quickly. It’s a lot of fun to write so far.

Relative – What’s it about again?

Me – It’s a ghost story, a mystery, and a romance all wrapped up into one.

Relative – And what about that other book? The one you said agents were reading?

Me – Still waiting to hear back from most of them.

Relative – Here’s an idea… what about just calling Walmart and asking them if they’d be willing to sell your book?

Me (at a loss) – Um, that wouldn’t really work…

Relative – Why not?

Me – Because my “book” is a word file on my computer. Books have to be produced before they’re sold at major retailers.

Relative (thoughtful) – Oh…

Me – Before books can be produced, they have to be bought by a publisher. Before that–in most cases–they have to be agented.

Relative – Hmm… well, do you *think* Walmart will sell your book someday?

Me (undeniably hopeful, yet realistic) – Walmart sells best-sellers, for the most part. Books that have already proven themselves.

Relative – Yeah?

Me – It takes a long time or a ton of luck–often both–to get to that point.

Relative – Oh, well hopefully, right?

Me – Yep, hopefully!

Moral of the Story: If you’re not IN IT, you just don’t get it.


9 responses to “A brief but enlightening conversation about publishing…

  1. O.M.G
    That is so true. I’m always amazed how my family and friends see the publishing business.
    “Oh? You’re a writer?”
    “What have you written?”
    “I’m not published yet.”
    “Oh. Well why not? Can’t you sell you’re book to Barnes and Noble or something?”
    I can pull bunnies from my but, too.

  2. Oh, amen to that. This is one of the reasons I tell most people–but not all people–about my writing. It’s so difficult to answer the ‘how’s it going?’ questions in a way that’s mutually comprehensible.
    Me: Great! I’m really getting through my rewrite and I got some great feedback, so I think it’s going to be way stronger.
    Them: Hasn’t this been going for a year now? When do you think it will be published?
    Me: Well, first you query, and… actually, you want some of that cake? It looks good!

    • You’re brave, Amie! I don’t even go into the whole querying process. The one time I tried, I got, “Wait… isn’t there, like, a database where you can submit your stuff? Then agents can just find it and contact you.” Um, no. Not exactly!

  3. Love their optimism! Maybe they’re onto something. Wonder what Walmart would say if you called them up and asked? LOL

    I have writers in my family, so the conversations are usually a little more accurate, but the few non-industry friends I have are always asking where they can buy my book. There seems to be a disconnect between “I wrote a book” and “I published a book.”

  4. so true, but funny to read someone else’s experiences!

  5. Well Katy, I promise when you talk to me about your books I will not be THAT naive. 😉

  6. Pingback: 7X7… An Award! | Katy Upperman