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Everybody claims to know how to get published. “Write a good book,” they say. “Practice your craft,” they say.
Ha! “What nincompoops,” I say! Nincompoops! Nincompoops! (I like saying that word)
So to all those nincompoops who think they know how to get published, here are 20 surefire pointers that will allow anyone to get published. Even you, the nincompoops.
1) Call every editor in the publishing industry and tell them to publish your book. If they refuse, call again five minutes later. If they still refuse, send a dead animal to their office. You’ll have a deal before the janitorial staff disposes of the carcass.
2) Pay for your very own blimp to fly during the Macy’s Day Parade, and have your full manuscript transcribed on the balloon.
3) Go to the website of a major bestselling author. See what he/she looks like and what he/she is wearing. Dress yourself like the author in question. Go to the author’s publishing house and tell the security guard that you are Author X, and your editor was supposed to leave the “on signing” portion of your contract at the front desk, in cash.
4) Editors love shiny things. Handwrite your novel using only a glitter pen, and mail it in a scented envelope padded with ostrich feathers.
5) Go to a conference. Using a roll of duct tape, cover over the names of authors on all the books on sale and write in yours. Take claim for any copies that sell. Ask publishers whether, “They want a piece of that.”
6) Make friends with an editorial assistant and have them forward you any notices of networking events for editors and agents. Attend said networking event wearing only a burlap sack and eyeglasses. Keep your business card handy. You’ll need it.
7) Editors and agents hate paragraphs, not to mention commas and periods. If you can write your book in one long run-on sentence, a seven figure deal is within your reach.
8) Create a mock up of what you’d envision your book cover to be, using only Crayola crayons, popsicle sticks, and dried leaves. They will without a doubt be impressed with your creativity.
9) Create a fake Driver’s License that claims your name is J.D. Salinger. (Back in the day, you could get a nice I.D. for $60 at Village Pop in NYC. Mine said I was from “10 Main Street, Durham NH”). Tell them you’ve come to sell your next novel (then tell the publisher the title of your book, only add “and Zooey” or “in the
Rye” to the end of it).
10) Offer free back rubs for anyone in the publicity department, shiatsu massages for anyone in editorial, and happy endings for anyone in sales.
11) Tell them that you plan on breeding many more authors and you want to sign an exclusive “Stable contract,” so the publisher knows they’re not just getting your book, but every book authored by your forthcoming brood.
12) Write your entire manuscript on a roll of toilet paper. In your query letter, tell editor/agent that if they don’t like the book, they know what they can do with it. They’ll be laughing so loud at your sense of humououour that they’re just give you whatever money is in their wallet.
13) Tell them in a former life you were related to Mary Magdeleine.
14) Show the publisher the letter, signed by your sister, proving that she bought the film rights to your novel for $5. They’ll be so impressed that you got a film deal that they’ll fire that Grisham guy and give you his money.
15) Call the office of your dream literary agent. When somebody answers, tell them there’s a fire and they need to evacuate. When the agency comes running outside, tell the agent you just saved his/her life, then offer your manuscript and tell him/her how much you’d appreciate their representation.
16) Call the head publisher of the imprint you’d most want to be published by. Offer to buy the imprint using future royalties from your book. You’ll have a signed contract in no time.
17) Promoting books using the Internet is totally obsolete. Use ESP—it’s the wave of the future.
18) Write a query letter to many top agents. Tell them the book you wrote has never been written before, and will never be written again.
19) Publishers love nothing more than books that rhyme. Write your novel using iambic pentameter. Your work will be considered much more highly if your novel in iambic pentameter is a minimum of 1,400 pages.
20) Write the single greatest opening sentence in book history. Some examples include:
a) Twas the best of times, twas other times.
b) The old hickory smokestack bellowed like the wind between Long John’s sheets.
c) When Jessie saw her old man was dead, she cried and cried and then ate some cheese.
d) If my feelings to thine own heart be true, let the birds and the singing goblins ferret out that evil, in such vicious bouregards that shall inherit the earth.
When you’ve finished said sentence, tell the publisher they’ll have to fork over some cash to read the rest. Pretty soon you’ll have more money than the entire cast of “Friends.”
author of THE MARK
coming July 2007 from MIRA books
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