Thursday, April 19, 2012

An oldie but a goodie: Appeasing the publishing gods

Feverish drum beats echo through the sultry jungle night as natives bearing torches, like a line of wavering fireflies, make their way up the side of a rumbling volcano. The tropical breezes drift past unnoticed as they climb past trees and around boulders, each clutching a sacrifice to his or her breast.

Finally, as they attain the rim, the reverberation of seismic activity throws them to the ground. Their chief is the first to struggle to his feet.

"My fellow writers!" he thunders to the crowd, "we must appease the publishing gods. Have you your sacrifices?"

As one, their affirmative cry rises over the grumble of the volcano.

"And are they first drafts, unedited and pure in their original form, printed on pastel paper in colored inks so they are sure to get the attention of an editor?"

"Yes! Yes!"

"Are you certain you have made no attempt whatever to research which publishers might be interested in your genre or type of writing?"

"Yes!" The natives are in a wild frenzy by now, waving their manuscripts over their heads.

"It is time!" shrieks the chief. "Throw your sacrifices into the volcano. The publishing gods must be appeased!"

In a cascade of colorful papers completely lacking sufficiently postaged self-addressed stamped envelopes for return responses, the manuscripts plunge into the fiery depths where they are incinerated before they can touch the molten maelstrom below. A wailing keen fills the darkness as the natives hurry down into their jungle huts.

"Do you think we'll hear anything this time?" one native whispers to his neighbor.

"Absolutely. This time I added a handwritten note about how my kids and wife loved my story. I'm guessing they'll get back to me in less than two weeks. By the way, I'm looking for an illustrator for my picture book. Can you recommend anyone?"


  1. LOL! Did you write that or did you steel it from one of those books you are always reading? That was classic!!!

  2. I wrote this a year or two ago, but I liked it so much that I thought I'd give everyone a rerun. (I'd never steal work from someone else. I have too much fun with my own imagination.)