Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Message to All Writers from Stephen Markley, Author of Publish This Book

"Tearing Down The Walls" promotion by Sourcebooks promises access to a literary agent and a 2-4 paragraph critique of your submission

Unbelievably, I was fed up with the byzantine quest of trying to get a book published. So, I decided to cut to the chase and simply write a hyperkinetic, high-concept memoir about trying to publish a book — Publish This Book (my newly released book to be precise).

So a big part of Publish This Book is about the maddening Kafka-esque nightmare of trying to break through as a writer in the cutthroat world of publishing. Writers spend months, years, and decades crafting a manuscript and honing a book proposal, only to get the standard form rejection letter: "We're sorry, but this does not meet our needs at this time."

Breaking down this wall between the writer and the industry is the idea behind a new promotion by my publisher, Sourcebooks. And yes, as soon as I describe this idea to you, it will sound as if these people have all lost their minds. Here's the gist to the “Tearing Down The Walls” promotion:

You have a novel or a non-fiction book proposal, right? Well all you have to do is buy a copy of Publish This Book (because they are not doing this solely out of the goodness of their hearts) and send in the receipt or order confirmation along with your proposal. Then, in a few months (depending on how many people take them up on this), you will get back a critique written by a Sourcebooks editor or my agent, Julie. The promotion is set to run through May 9th (so get cracking).

Some ground rules:

• A proposal includes a one-page synopsis of your book, along with up to 5,000 words of your manuscript
• Submissions can be sent to or for more information you can click here
• This in no way guarantees you a book contract, but trust me when I say that getting any kind of feedback, advice, and/or words of encouragement from the Stalinistic publishing world is an awesome opportunity for any aspiring writer and something I would have given organs for a couple of years ago when I was struggling to find a publisher or agent to look at my book

Again I repeat… getting someone in publishing to respond to your manuscript nowadays is a very big deal and an opportunity I know I would have jumped all over back when I was banging my head against the wall trying to get something published.

Believe me, I'm on your side when I say that Julie, Sourcebooks, and my editor Peter are all insane for taking this on. I told them as much in a recent meeting -- that they have essentially opened themselves up to critiquing every Twilight rip-off and right-wing crank's manifesto (my dad is already madly preparing his!) in all of North America.

So aspiring writers of Chicago (or anywhere), don't waste this chance: buy your copy of Publish This Book, prep your own book, and deluge my publisher.

-- Stephen Markley
Author of PUBLISH THIS BOOK, released Spring 2010 from Sourcebooks