Are You a Publishing Greenhorn?

Traditionally Challenged: Navigating the Publishing Labyrinth grit

by Greta Boris

green·horn (ˈɡrēnˌhôrn/ | noun NORTH AMERICAN informal)
  1. a person who is new to or inexperienced at a particular activity.

When I was a running greenhorn, I experienced something in a very measurable, concrete way I’d always believed to be true. My average speed was respectable for my age, sex, and level of experience, but I was hungry for more. I wanted to place in the top five of my division.

What did I do? I started running with people who were faster and more experienced than I was. In the next two years I placed fifth, fourth and third in various distances.

If you want to step up your game, hang around with people who are doing what you want to do.

When I decided to take my writing on the road and seek publication, I looked for people who were published. I found some very generous mentors, DeAnna Cameron, my Fictionaires group, Gayle Carline, and some I’ve only met online, who have helped me navigate the path to publication.

I decided it was time to give back.

Don’t misunderstand, I’m still a greenhorn, but I’m one or two steps ahead of those who’re still trying to sort out their options. In light of that, Megan and I decided to present a workshop for those hoping to move from Aspiring to Author at the Southern California Writers Conference in San Diego last month.

We had a blast, and, as usual, I learned as much from teaching as I did from sitting in others’ workshops. Here’s what I discovered about…

The Greenhorn Mindset

Many writers are surprised when they take the Publishing Personality Test

Megan and I created a six question personality test to help aspiring authors discern the path to publication that best fit their goals and personality. For many, the outcome was a shocker. A lot of new writers go to conferences in the hopes of meeting with and securing an agent. While that’s a terrific goal for some, for others it would probably be a disaster.

A number of our workshop attendees who had been dreaming of a publishing deal with one of the Big 5 walked out wanting more information on boutique presses, or stayed for Gayle Carline’s class on the ins and outs of Independent Publishing.

Many writers want a big publisher because they believe it will liberate them from the chains of marketing

Ha! And double, ha! Nobody but the superstars are exempt from marketing, baby. It’s the cross writers have to bear if they plan to sell books to people other than their mothers. You are a small business owner until you become a big business owner, plain and simple.

Many writers don’t understand they are a commodity

If there were no writers, agents and publishing houses wouldn’t have books to sell. I mean, James Patterson can’t keep writing thirty-five books a year forever. He’s got to die sometime. (Not that I’m wishing it on him. I’ve heard he’s a very nice man.)

You, dear writer, aren’t a beggar. You can’t apologize your way into a contract.

Many newbie writers fall into one of two camps: strutters and shufflers

Strutters believe because they took one community college class on fiction writing, and their instructor (who wanted to sell them a book) said they had promise, they can skip over all the steps the rest of us poor slobs have to plod through.

Shufflers stub their toes on those same steps, never lifting their feet, or their heads, high enough to get anywhere.

To the strutters I say, a hard rain’s a gonna fall. To the shufflers I say, agents, editors, and readers may give grace to the humble, but they won’t be inspired by a complete lack of confidence.

If you’re lacking confidence, take some classes on craft. If you’re arrogant, take some classes on craft.

In the next few months, we’ll launch another O.C.Writers challenge for those of you ready to take the plunge into the publishing pool. We’re calling this one ReCON
  • Re: Research your options
  • C: Connect with your team
  • O: Overcome rejection and criticism
  • N: Nice guys finish first

Make sure you’re receiving our monthly newsletter for updates.


Greta Boris, Director

Greta Boris Director

Greta Boris is the author of the 2017 releases, A Margin of Lust and The Scent of Wrath, the first two books in her 7 Deadly Sins domestic suspense series.

She’s published articles on culture, health, and entertainment for a variety of national magazines including Victorian Homes, Zombies, 50 Scariest Movies, Exodus, and Women of the Bible. She’s also the author of the Amazon Kindle Bestseller The Wine and Chocolate Workout – Sip, Savor, and Strengthen for a Healthier Life.

You can visit her at She describes her work (and her life) as an O.C. housewife meets Dante’s Inferno.



One thought on “Are You a Publishing Greenhorn?

  1. I needed to hear something both pragmatic and encouraging and this is it! Thanks, Greta. Looking forward to ReCON.

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