How To Get A Book Published: “You Hate Me, You Really, Really Do!”

How To Get A Book Published: “You Hate Me, You Really, Really Do!”

By Dr. Gary S. Goodman

I was speaking to a zesty MBA student the other day about the odds against something or other and she snapped back: “I love doing what people tell me I can’t do!”

I admire that attitude.

We see it in some super athletes, like Detroit Tigers outfielder Gary Sheffield. Mouthy, opinionated, and absolutely irrepressible, Sheffield will beat you with his words and his bat.

By the way, he is one of my favorite players and I cheer for him no matter whose uniform he’s ripping.

If you’re a professional writer or speaker, I think it only makes sense to don the armor that the future business tycoon and Mr. Sheffield wear with such confidence.

They know that above all, it isn’t personalities but PERFORMANCE that counts.

Not long ago, I received my second rejection from the same publisher for the same book project. The first time around, in 2004, I declined their meager offer and opted to publish audios, instead.

The audios have sold very well, repaying the significant advance I received.

Happily, I’m also cashing fat royalty checks.

On the strength of the audio sales I returned to the same book editor and said, “See, it’s a winner! Want to make a better offer for the book?”

She declined in a most prickly way.

More time passed. More royalties flowed in from the audios, so I approached a different editor at the same publishing company, briefed him on the history of the project and asked, “Want to make an offer on the book?”

He was interested, but his company passed again because by now, they are seeing their folly. Forget about the performance of my programs, the fact I’m a best-selling author of 12 books, and they’re certain to make a buck on the book deal.

Like Sally Field at the Oscars, I feel like bellowing with joy: “YOU HATE ME, YOU REALLY, REALLY DO!”

I believe you have to have fun with publishers, despite the fact that they frequently make decisions that seem utterly irrational. Rejections can actually be enjoyable, providing you see them for what they are:

(1) Temporary;

(2) Usually questionable decisions;

(3) Opinions of people who know your topic and audience far less than you do; and

(4) Only marginally related to earning profits.

Did I really believe that publisher would embrace a project after I rejected their offer? Did I hold out any hope that they’d see the error of their ways, appreciating they should have paid me a paltry few thousand more in 2004?

Yes, I thought there was a slight chance they’d eschew emotionalism, embrace logic, and reform.

But I did get a big kick out of showing them they erred, and now, they’ve erred yet again, passing on what is likely to become a sure winner for some other publisher, one of their competitors.

That grad student is right: It feels great showing people you really can do what they say you can’t do.

Just remember to apply this attitude to writing and to publishing and you’ll prosper, enjoying a few chuckles along the way.

Dr. Gary S. Goodman is a top trainer, conference and convention speaker, sales, customer service, and negotiation consultant, and attorney. A frequent expert commentator on radio and TV, he is also the best-selling author of 12 books, more than 1,000 articles and several popular audio and video programs. His seminars are sponsored internationally and he teaches at more than 40 university extension programs, including UC Berkeley and UCLA. Gary’s sales, management and consulting experience is combined with impressive academic credentials: A Ph.D. from USC, an MBA from the Peter F. Drucker School of Management, and a J.D. degree from Loyola Law School, his clients include several Fortune 1000 companies.

His web site is: and he can be reached at:

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