Blind Publisher Syndrome

no-68481_1280You know the drill.

You’ve completed your masterpiece and convinced yourself that it’s the next best seller. Yet those blinkered literary agents and publishers cannot see your brilliance. They are too narrow-minded, too scared to take a leap of faith and far too worried about their bottom line to invest in your future classic. Blind Publisher Syndrome lurks its evil head again.

You have put months of effort into your work – years maybe. Your very soul is in this killer read. It means everything to you. Why can’t they see that?


But wait! Ask yourself the following question – When you go to the dentist, and you are told you need a tooth extracted, do you believe him? When your car is playing up and the mechanic informs you that you need a new ‘oogleflugle’ (well, that’s what I hear), do you tell him he is incorrect? When you visit the doctor for a routine check-up and she informs you that your blood pressure is a little high, do you let her know that her opinion is a ‘crock of…’ whatever?

Not too often, I bet.

Maybe, you are unsure and wait a while until your tooth really starts hurting, maybe you ask another mechanic to look at your car, or maybe you get a second opinion from another doctor – after all, it is your health we’re talking about here! But ultimately, you tend to accept the advice of the professional.

So tell me something. Why, when you’ve sent your valuable MSS to a dozen literary agents or publishers, do you scream about their tunnel vision, their myopic views and their inability to ‘get it’? You’ve had a second opinion – hell, you’ve had eleven of them!

These people know their job. If they didn’t they’d be out of work. They know the commercial value of your work and, most importantly, they are tough enough and detached enough to be able to inform you (politely, of course) that your life’s work is, at best, not right for them and, at worst, way past Yawnsville and on the main highway to the beautiful coastal town of Suckington-by-the-Sea.

Charles_Dickens_3Blind Publisher Syndrome is, in the vast majority of cases, a writer’s condition and not one that afflicts agents and publishing houses. However, there is a cure. It’s not a simple one, but it works.  It’s called ‘honesty’. It is the hardest, but in some ways the most important skill you need as a writer: Honesty about your own finished product, your own ability, your own myopic view about the 120,000 word pile of landfill on the table in front of you.

It’s a hard ability to learn, but one that’s very important for your literary career because, if you cannot learn this skill, you’re doomed to hawking your crisp, double spaced, 80gsm toilet paper around for another few years.



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