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  • Christopher G. Moore

Bangkok, Tuesday

Finding a Publisher or an Agent: learn the probability of success by watching baby turtles.

Discovery Channel had a program about evolution. Featured in the high drama stakes of survival were baby turtles, freshly hatched, and making the run over open beach to the sea. On the charge to the sea, turtles were gorged on by birds. Others met their fate by being devoured by crabs. The crab grabbed hold and pulled a baby turtle, tiny legs flapping, down a hole in the sand. Those turtles fortunate enough to make it to the sea found little safety. Only a few out of the hundreds and hundreds that started the race survived.

When surfing the blogs and websites of authors, it is difficult not to feel publishing is not unlike the world of the baby turtles. You can sense the level of anxiety, anger and frustration. Knowing one’s their probable fate, doesn’t stop one from trying. Some turtles, after all, do make it, right?

The publishing equivalent of being eaten is being rejected. Failure to get published is the equivalent of being stopped before the water’s edge; the beach is littered with the remains of dead manuscripts. Most of those few authors who are given the chance to swim later disappear without a trace. It is difficult to believe the forces of evolutionary nature act in such a brutal, ruthless, and final fashion. But what is true for the baby turtle is true for the fate of most writers.

My favorite baby turtle was the one who turned away from the race to the sea and headed to the jungle. He was alone. If he was going to survive, he would have to adapt to a new environment. Otherwise, he, too, would disappear without a trace.

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