Jon Gibbs’s Ten things I wish I knew before I was published #2: It Ain’t Easy, Baby

You will not get published by accident.  You need to go to workshops, and send your stuff out.  No one will accidentally read your manuscript.

Now, I need to admit that I have a friend who posted an excerpt from her novel on her blog, and a publisher happened upon it.  He asked her to send him a full, and he eventually published her.

It does happen, but the chances are so slim I can’t think of a number that small.

There are people out there who walk around carrying “Writer’s Market” hoping someone will see them and say “are you a writer?”  Seriously… it’s not going to happen.

You need to submit.  Press that little submit button.  I know it’s hard, I’ve been there, but it can be done.

Go ahead, stick those pages in that envelope.  Send your baby on its way.  It won’t get anywhere if you don’t let it leave home.

You need to decide if you are a recreational writer, or a professional writer.  Either one is fine, but professional writing is work.  You need to apply for jobs… no different here.

(Unless you go for self-publishing, but that’s another story completely)

Note:  The above are Jon Gibb’s main speaking points, with my rambling opinions attached.

Jon Gibbs is the author of one of my son’s favorite books:  FUR-FACE, which was nominated for a Crystal Kite Award.

Jon is an Englishman transplanted to New Jersey, USA, where he is an ‘author in residence’ at Lakehurst Elementary School.  Jon is the founding member of The New Jersey Author’s Network and

Jon blogs at



18 responses to “Jon Gibbs’s Ten things I wish I knew before I was published #2: It Ain’t Easy, Baby

  1. Being famous after your dead is not much consolation. To be noticed in your life time you have to work at it and this article makes that very clear

  2. great article, and I love the expanded comments of yours about self-publishing…all truths that many find hard to swallow! Keep up the awesome work 🙂

  3. Reblogged this on Writerlious and commented:
    Such a truisim by published author Jon Gibbs that I thought it was sharing with all of you. 🙂

  4. Yay! I’ve been waiting for this next installment to come out. This is such an important post, I’m going to reblog it. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us, Jon!

  5. You seem not to be in favor of self-publishing (at least not as a plan B); you rather seem to encourage traditional publishing. What’s your opinion on that?

    • I’m not sure if you were directing that to Jon or me, but I will take a stab at it.

      Self-publishing is a viable option for the author that is willing to pay their dues. By “dues” I mean going through all of the anxiety that you would go through with traditional publishing. If you self publish, you still need to go through the beta process. You still need to hire someone to do line-editing. You need to hire someone to copy-edit. You need to have your work professionally set-up for publication (print or e-book) and you need to hire a professional artist. The problem is, many people self-publish before they are ready, or they cut corners to save money. It is noticeable. They are giving self-published novels a bad name, because the lion share of them out there are inferior. That is not to say that they are all bad… but it is so easy to self-publish now-adays that people “just do it” and there are books out there that could have used a lot of work.

      For myself, I look at a publisher as a gateway, or set of “learned” eyes that will let me know if my work is ready yet. Then they will also go through all the motions I mentioned above, AND THEY WILL PAY FOR IT. That sounds good to me.

      Now, that is not to say that I would not look at self-publishing as a viable option sometime in the future. but for now, while I am still new to this big publishing world… I want a professional to hold my hand and make sure I don’t screw anything up that I will regret for the rest of my life.

  6. You mean I have to submit my work to an agent? I’ve been waiting for them to call me. Ha! Kidding of course.

  7. Amen! Being a writer is work.

    It is a shame that some folks out there still aren’t aware of this.

  8. Thanks for the reminder. It’s also important to keep it moving and not be discouraged by rejection — well at least keep moving through the feelings associated with rejection. Agents and publishers have different tastes and goals. There are some who can relate to your work but you have to reach out, as you say, so that you can find them.

  9. It does take a lot of work to get published. Once your manuscript has been written and edited to death, it should be critiqued. If it still has some life left in it to be submitted, it’s never the first publisher you contact that will snap it up! In my case, the first publisher I contacted wasn’t doing YA fiction so off to many, many other publishers it went. Finally, my original contact decided to start producing YA so I sent it there and the rest is history. The only problem is, it took 10 years for that to happen with a lot of blood, sweat & tears (& perseverance) in the meantime!

  10. Darn it! I was hoping someone might break into my house and steal a copy of my manuscript, then turn out to be a publisher, knock on my door the next day and give an offer to publish with a six figure advance. My dreams are officially dead…