Last night my daughter threw a MAJOR tantrum. She's 5--way too old for tantrums. She was mad because my husband picked a book for bedtime reading that she didn't like, so she slammed the door and told him she wouldn't read it. Then he told her if she was going to throw a tantrum she wouldn't get ANY books. This (of course) caused her to scream, "IT'S NOT FAIR. IT'S NOT FAIR" for ten minutes.
When I finished putting the baby to bed and my husband finished reading stories to our happy 4-year-old we went in to address the tantrum.
"Mom, it's not fair that Daddy wouldn't read me a book," she said.
"Things aren't always fair," I told her. "You made the choice to get upset and slam the door, and Daddy decided you shouldn't get a story since you threw a tantrum."
She screwed up her little face and pouted, but she didn't argue anymore. We completed the rest of her bedtime routine and she went to bed.
I don't know what point in life kids decide that things should be fair. It's certainly not something we teach our children. Life is NOT fair. It is wonderful and horrible, happy and sad, glorious and miserable, but it isn't fair.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but publishing isn't fair either. Is there a brilliant author out there who writes prose that could make angels weep, who can't manage to get an agent, much less a publisher? Yeah, if fact, there are probably hundreds. Are there people who can barely string sentences together who get book deals? Definitely (ahem, think of all the celebrity tell-alls).
Blogger/Author Jody Hedlund asked the question yesterday "Does Today's Writer Need to be Perfect to Get Published?" and the answer, of course, is NO! Would it be more fair if only the "best" writers--the ones with flawless, beautiful prose and complete command of the English language were the ones to get published? Yeah, I think that would be fair, but that's not how publishing works. The books that get published are the books that publishers believe people will buy.
Publishing isn't fair. If we want to be published writers we need fantastic, salable stories (and even then there are no guarantees).
So I'll ask you these questions: What are you doing to make your story salable (not necessarily perfect)?