Posted by: Deborah Drezon Carroll | June 3, 2010

No New Voices in Publishing?


As my girls and I work toward what we hope will be an upcoming parenting book, we’re up to the step where we need to find literary representation. So, I’ve sent our proposal to about ten agents or so. We await their responses but I’ve been told that today’s agents want authors with a “platform” and not a “modest platform.”

That got me thinking about the voices in the publishing industry. If only “famous” or “followed” authors get published, doesn’t that mean that there are very few new writers getting published? And wouldn’t that really cut down on the diversity of thought in books? And wouldn’t that mean that fewer books would ultimately be available? And, finally, if I had millions of followers already, would I even need an agent?

It seems that the publishing industry, like others, has become strictly about the money and not so much about disseminating information. But, then, I realized that while there may be fewer books, there really is so much more information out there. Voices can be heard and thought is perhaps even more diverse than ever. While previously, only an elite few were “published” and heard, now, thanks to the Internet, anyone can speak. (Well, anyone with a computer and access.)

And, speak we do, my girls and I. We’re having some fun, and learning a lot about each other. We also love connecting with the many people we don’t know who somehow find our blog and chat with us. The various ways of parenting are fascinating to read and talk about. Parenting is an art, sometimes a science and sometimes it’s the divine human comedy.

So, we’ll keep chatting, letting our voices be heard and we’ll keep listening to the others who want to talk with us. And, if there’s a book in our future, great. We’ll keep contacting agents until we find one who likes what we have to say enough to embrace it. And, if that doesn’t happen, we’ll continue to talk, write, laugh and learn and look at life together.

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Responses

  1. I feel your pain. In my search for an agent, what I’ve discovered is that the publishing houses want authors with a built-in audience. They want to know that you’ve already sold your book before it’s published and can continue to reach new people all the time.

    It is sad, and frustrating, but I guess it’s the way of the publishing world now. I have discovered a few small publishers who may be interested in different voices and I’m hoping they will take submissions directly from me rather than an agent. I’ll keep you posted and I will continue to read what you and your amazing daughters write and discuss.

  2. Thanks. Maybe we’ll both become rich and famous. Nah, it’s overrated anyway. Maybe we’ll both become happy. Wait, I am happy. Maybe we’ll be happy with new books on the market. I appreciate your offer to share what you learn. I’ll do the same. Good luck! What’s your book about?

  3. Good luck with your book! It can certainly be frustrating, especially when the publishers make you wait FOREVER just for a denial (and based on the denial, you’re not even sure they read your submission! Aaargh!)

    ~Lamb


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