Have questions about submitting to Pitch Wars or just want to know what it is? Start here!


If you’re not a writer . . . you just don’t understand

Friday, 6 August 2010  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

I think I’ve been pretty grumpy lately, and it’s caused by the fact that I have to drink Skinny Sugar-free No-fun Carmel Lattes. Okay, they’re kind of growing on me but still, I think a splurge is in order, so today it’s a full-blown-with-all-the-sin Carmel Macchiato. Yummy.

When friends and family ask, “How do you get published?” I usually joke, “You don’t.” The question mark on their faces tells me they don’t get the joke. It’s too hard for them to comprehend how difficult it is finding an agent. The query letter is beyond them, and they don’t get the submission process at all. It usually takes quite a bit of time to explain to them about how it works. Afterward, they always give their suggestions as to how they would do it.

“Why don’t you self-publish or make an e-book?” some will ask. “Then they’ll see how popular your book is and snatch it up for a movie or something.” This is where my eyes glass over and my mind wanders to how I wouldn’t mind if Jon Hamm’s character on Mad Men treated me as badly as he treats his secretary.

I don’t give people suggestions on how to perform brain surgery, build an engine, program a computer, or use Excel. Heck, if I did, scary things could happen. Even so, if I’d ask for an explanation of any of the aforementioned things, I would listen for a bit and then my eyes would glass over and my mind would wander to how I wouldn’t mind if Jon Hamm’s. . . Anyway, I’d never say, “Hey, why don’t you deliver babies, work on bikes, program DVD players or use Word Perfect instead?”

So how do you handle questions about querying and why your manuscript isn’t published yet?

That’s it. Slurp! (yum . . . carmel)

Filed: Misc

  • DaniSue says:

    I wish I knew! I would love to be able to shut my boyfriend’s parents up, who insist on asking me these questions every single time I see them!

  • Brenda Drake says:

    I know, right? There’s always that one (or two or three or four) who just can’t stop.

  • Oh boy do I hear ya on this one lol! Hmm maybe it’s why I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing for a good long time.

  • Marjorie says:

    You can say that there is great competition, and that out of every 5 thousand queries submitted only 4 books will ever get published. It will give them a perspective. (You can determine the ratio you want to state) And when they suggest ideas, tell them you know all the options and prefer to discuss it only with others going through the process.

    How are you doing? I did a show at The Comic Strip Live in NYC on Wednesday. Go to my digest blog to see great photos of me at the comedy club 2009 holiday party and other photos.

    I am a 6th grade retired teacher who works hard at handling her sad pathetic life, lol.

  • Hee-hee! I left you a little something on my blog today, and it’s not sugar-free! Come visit me. 😀

  • Talli Roland says:

    It’s so hard, isn’t it! I’ve perfected the art of being vague. Very very vague. It usually puts people off. That or I ran away into the bathroom.

  • Brenda Drake says:

    Thanks, everyone for the wonderful comments, I like the idea of being vague and telling them about the competition out there.

    And a special thanks to Deb for my sweet reward! You rock!

  • Why don’t you use Wordperfect instead? Ha ha still giggling. Fortunately I’ve never had anyone ask me about the publishing process (since I have a day job, I guess they figure I’m not serious when I say I’m a writer).

Leave a reply


We’d love your comments but ask that you please keep it polite. Although your views are definitely your own, we do not condone harassment or bullying and don’t want to see it here. We reserve the right to delete any comments for any reason, including being abusive, profane or off topic.

We're thrilled at the different ways those in our Pitch Wars community are giving back—and we encourage them to do so. However, please keep in mind that Pitch Wars is not affiliated with any of these various contests, promotions, etc., including those of our mentors and mentees. Promoting any such opportunities via our social media channels doesn't imply endorsement or affiliation. We encourage you to do your research before participating.

Pitch Wars takes a stand. ANTI-BULLYING. Click here to review our policy

Check out our 2018 list of Participating Agents

2018 Pitch Wars Showcase: Click here to view the entries

Blog Archives

Blog Categories

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Please read our Privacy Policy before singing up.