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The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, 3rd Edition by Writer's Digest Writer's Digest Editors

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Chapter Fifty-Five

Failure to Launch

Why Good Novels Fail to Sell

Donald Maass

You’ll never meet an author who admits to publishing a “failed” novel. You will, though, encounter authors in bars and on blogs who will loudly tell you what’s wrong with the book industry. They’ll chronicle in detail how their titles languished on the shelves because their publishers screwed up and failed them.

But accept blame? No way. If sales were disappointing or an option was dropped, it’s the fault of weak “support,” a lousy cover, awful back-panel copy, bad timing, distribution mistakes, lack of subsidiary rights sales, or a host of other common publishing woes.

How can it be the author’s fault? After all, he wrote a book that was good enough. It was published. ...

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