More Radio, A Reminder & Publishing Odds

I’m on Community Radio Youghal* today around 1.30pm with the lovely Shirley Donovan, whom I “met” on Twitter last week. You’ll be able to listen online here, but I totally understand if after the rash of radio interviews over the past week or so, you’re sick of the sound of my voice. However if you’re not, you can listen to some of the other ones I did here.

Just a little reminder: I’m headed to Belfast for LitNetNI’s Making a Living as a Writer in the 21st Century workshop on Thursday (24th), along with Eoin Purcell and Carlo Gebler. I’ll be talking about this, i.e. blogging, and other procrastination activities that have happily become not only acceptable but also, luckily, conducive to selling books. Tickets are £40 and you can register for the event here.

On Tuesdays from now on I’ll be blogging at on my new ‘Double-Spaced’ guest blog. Today’s post is about the odds, and how despite all the foreboding, scaremongering and general negativity that greets the aspiring writer, the odds of your publishing dreams coming true may be better than you think.

“If there’s one thing I hate about this writing game, it’s the odds.

Everyone’s heard them: less than 1% of 1% of 1% etc. etc. of books written get published. The reality is probably even less than that. You are more likely, the experts say, to win the lotto or get struck by lightning than you are to see your novel for sale in Easons. (Excluding you sneaking in there with one you mocked up yourself and slipped on the shelf, of course.) If you were embarking on any other endeavour that had these kinds of odds, you’d think twice about even starting. What would be the point?”

Click here to read the rest of the post on

*If you’re not Irish, Youghal is pronounced y’all. Hearing tourists trying to pronounce it is always a great source of amusement.

3 thoughts on “More Radio, A Reminder & Publishing Odds

  1. Patrick Martin says:

    I keep hearing how low the odds are too but you know, a true artist never stops creating (I wish there was a verb like ‘art-ing’ that takes into account artistic activity in the wider sense). Anyway, a book deal would be fantastic and even if I live to 90, I’d still aspire to one.

    As far as odds are concerned, I think if we break it down, the odds might not be that bad. I mean, say if a race starts with 500 cyclists. Low odds on winning but take a closer look, 400 didn’t train properly and are out of puff after a mile. Off the remaining 100, 60 have defective tyres. So now you’re left with 40 who have a chance. See how the odds are not so long now?

    My analogy with writers is that of those hundreds or thousands who do not get a bookdeal, how many of them have fallen foul of the following:

    1. Failed to edit or hire a professional proofer/editor
    2. Failed to submit manuscripts in an acceptable format
    3. Failed to approach the correct agents as per their chosen genre

    I would hazard a guess that the lionshare have fallen into the above traps. Hard, I know but the publishing business like all businesses, have their standards and protocols. We have to play ball.

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