To be or not to be…

I am waiting for an email from a publisher, either of the first two paragraphs below could be true come Monday morning.

Scenario A
I am really happy to be able to report that an independent publisher has agreed to publish Under The Bridge, although I am sure there will many details to be worked out. I am really happy to have received the offer of publication.

Scenario B
I have just received an email from a publisher that was considering publishing Under The Bridge, they explain that although the book has a lot to recommend it, it falls just outside their range of publications. So regretfully they will decline to publish it while of course wishing me success elsewhere.

The road to publication is not an easy one, this is a subject I have talked about before, but given that I am writing and trying to find my way through this world, I hope you don’t mind me returning to it.

I have been approaching publishers and agents for about six months now, while simultaneously preparing my two finished novels for self-publication. Everyone expects and receives rejections, while reasons for rejection are rarely given, it is possible to occasionally get an idea. The first question should be is this work of publishable quality? While there is no simple test for this there are few steps that can indicate the level of quality. Professional Manuscript Assessment, Editorial Reviews, and Beta readers.

A manuscript assessment from a literary agency, in this process a professional editor or a published author are paid to read and comment on your novel, including suggesting changes that would provide improvement. You have to supply a sample first, and only if the sample achieves a baseline of readability can the manuscript be forwarded on to the assessment stage. I was told I was very close to being accepted on an agent’s scouting team, (it means they would approach publishers with the book) but the guy who made the decision, said he thought it was unrealistic that my character Michael a 60 something-year-old caretaker would know what a tibia was ( leg bone). I did wonder how many building site caretakers he has come across? and actually, my character is pretty smart.

Readers Favourite is an editorial review service. Reviewers are independent can award 1 to 5 stars as well as their comments. Payment is accepted for the speed of the service, you can pay for an express service, not for the content or rating.

Beta readers are an important part of the pre-publication process, these are non-professional readers who love reading, and supply their honest feedback on the good and bad parts of any text from their perspective, genuine readers giving genuine opinions, allowing authors the option to act on the comments.

So imagine your novel comes through all these stages with high recommendations, 5 stars, and happy readers. It should be possible to find an agent and publisher?

Well, here we hit another couple of hurdles, reception and perceived commercial viability.


Agents and publishers do not fall from the sky ready-made, they are educated and trained in a world that is not readily accessible to all. Assuming you received a decent education and could afford to take on the debts and commitments of university, then you might have a chance of employment in this field. If your family knows someone in the business your chances increase dramatically if you can work for free as an intern for three or six months, or are supported by your family while you earn no commission, again your chances increase.

One of the few comments that I have heard a couple of times from agents is ‘to accept a book you have to be able to fight for it to represent it properly’. Agents and publishers like everyone else find it easier to connect to and identify with material they can relate to, writing that comes from their world and speaks to their concerns. I would hazard a guess that Speke and Garston are from that world.

The question of commercial viability is for another day and revolves around literary or genre fiction.

If all this sounds like sour grapes, so be it. As my mate would say, it’s probably because your writing is shit. For me, it is just a dose of reality, when public school idiots line up for the Prime Ministers job, then expecting the world outside politics to be any fairer is more than idealistic. If the situation on Monday morning is Scenario B. I will get on with preparing for self-publication. In either case, your support makes a huge difference. You can help by and sharing this blog.

One response to “To be or not to be…”

  1. Having read Under the Bridge in an earlier draft, I found the story strong and the writing sharp. Regardless of the outcome, persist. This is a story that needs to be out there.

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About Me

Thanks for visiting my page. The aim of this page is to let you know what I am working on and allow you to tell me what you think.

I was born and raised in Speke Liverpool, although my parents first lived ‘Under The Bridge’ in Garston, and all my family goes back to Wicklow in Ireland.

The Liverpool Mystery series will be four novels, three books; Under The Bridge, The Morning After, and Fire Next Time are finished. Under The Bridge will be published in Feb 2021 and I hope at least one more will follow later in the year. I am writing The Wicklow Boys now, and I hope to finish it next year.

My writing like my blog is about the lives of working people and how they relate to society as a whole.

My collection of short stories The One Road is available below click to see details.

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