Do you have to fight the same old publishing war?

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PUBLISHING WAS A WAR, and we knew it.

We used words, not bullets.

We fought across a landscape that was forever changing.

We won a few skirmishes.

Most of us lost the big war.

But the battle raged on.

Only one thing remained the same.

The enemy never changed.

The enemy had many faces.

The enemy lived in many parts of the country.

We didn’t know the enemy by name.

We simply knew the enemy as literary agent.

Publishers might like our books.

Editors might love our books.

None of them would ever see our books.

Agents became our stumbling blocks.

No.

I’m wrong.

I shouldn’t blame the agents.

The gatekeepers were our stumbling blocks.

They fought their wars with rejection slips.

Have a hard day?

Don’t worry.

Don’t read the damn thing.

Send a rejection letter.

Got a headache?

Don’t worry.

Don’t read the damn thing.

Send a rejection letter.

Like romance?

Love erotica?

The writer send you a mystery?

Don’t worry.

Don’t read the damn thing.

Send a rejection letter.

Then the agent walks in.

“Get any queries today?”

“A few.”

“Any good ones?”

“No.”

“You send them back?”

“I did.”

“I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

The enemy barred the way.

The enemy knew all about what was good and bad in literature.

The enemy had read a book once.

Didn’t like it.

But read it.

Then the agents woke up one morning.

It was a good day.

The sun was shining.

The agent had a book to sell.

He called his bank of editors.

No one answered.

Leave a voicemail, the machines all said.

We’ll get back to you, the machines all said.

The agent waited.

No one got back

Publishers didn’t need agents anymore.

Publishers weren’t looking for new books anymore.

Publishers didn’t know how to sell books anymore.

The digital revolution had arrived.

Nothing was as it had been.

Nothing would ever be the same again.

The agents were still in the midst of war.

But the agents were no longer the enemy.

The agents had an enemy.

The publishers had barricaded the gates.

Don’t call.

Don’t knock.

Don’t drop by.

The publishers had their own gatekeepers.

Feel bad today?

Don’t worry.

Don’t read the damn thing.

Just ignore the agent.

Like science fiction?

Love fantasy?

Agent send you a mystery?

Don’t worry.

Don’t read the damn thing.

Just ignore the agent.

Suddenly we all had an enemy.

Suddenly we all had the same enemy.

I don’t know what the agents will do.

I don’t care what the agents will do.

But writers keep on writing.

Writers keep on publishing.

We don’t care about the so-called Big Six locked away in New York.

We’re only interested in the Big One.

Amazon is always there.

For some, the fight goes on.

It won’t end.

But me? I’m different.

I like the small presses.

I talk to the publishers direct.

I talk to the editors direct.

They all have the same attitude

They don’t talk to agents either.

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