Copyright © 1982 by Stephen Goldin. All Rights Reserved.
Cover image copyright © Paul Moore.
NOTE: The Business of Being a Writer was originally published in 1982, before the widespread use of personal computers, the Internet, and electronic publishing. While this excerpt has been updated, it is still largely oriented toward publishing in the print media. I hope you’ll find it useful anyway.
Now you have decided to write. You know what you want to say, and you’ve done a rough draft or two so you know how you want to say it. The next step is finding someone who wants to publish your work—but before you even begin that arduous search, you have to know how to package your product.
Suppose you went into a supermarket and looked at two different brands of canned peaches at the same price side by side. In one instance, the can is shiny and smooth, with a colorfully printed label and a mouth-watering picture of the peaches inside. In the other instance, the can is rusted and dented with no label; instead, someone has scrawled “peaches” in crayon across the metal. Without knowing anything about the quality of the merchandise, which can would you be more likely to buy? Most people would choose the good-looking can, on the general assumption that the manufacturer who takes the trouble to package a product presentably has probably gone to some effort to make the quality of the product good as well.