Thursday, 2 September 2010

The Publishing Ladder - A User's Guide

Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of the Gutenberg Infuri-8 publishing ladder, a product that we hope will bring you years of angst, rejection and financial penury.

Quickstart Guide

Place one foot on the bottom rung of the ladder, take a deep breath and write your debut novel. Rise smoothly upwards through editing, finding an agent and securing a twelve publisher auction. With six-figure contract in hand, stand at top of ladder and look awfully smug.

Safety Note: Standing on the top rung of any ladder can be perilous and will result in you having the farthest to fall.

Detailed Instructions - For Advanced Users

Some users have reported difficulties climbing the ladder, including (but not limited to) writing a 200,000 word novel about theoretical physics, failing to understand the proper use of apostrophe's and writing covering letters in your own blood. The publishing industry is proud to promote equal-opportunities failure and this ladder is no exception, allowing you, the author, to smoothly tumble off at almost any height.

We recommend you locate the ladder over a soft and resilient surface, as falling can be frequent and painful. Disappointment, shame and intense self-pity may accompany a fall from the publishing ladder, so try to arrange to have friends or family to catch you.

Be sure to grease all rungs daily. Those nearest the top (acquisitions, contract negotiations etc.) should be given special attention.

During your climb, we are sure that you will have plenty of time to hang around while waiting for agents and editors to return your calls and emails, time you can spend admiring the great new features of our 2010 model Infuri-8 publishing ladder:
  • Higher climb and lower advance - ideal for those who like to do more work for less pay.
  • Whizzy new e-book blatherings and internet-linked doodads - to try to hide the fact that no-one is exactly clear on where the publishing business is going.
  • Trick rungs - these fun fellas break in the middle of a multi-book deal, instantly cancelling your contract.
We trust that you will enjoy your purchase and sincerely hope that you reach the top, or at least die trying. You may like to try some of the other great Gutenberg products, including:

The Self-Publishing Stepladder
Styled to meet your lowered expectations, this sturdy article features a winning can-do attitude and enough rungs so you can reach the 100s of books you have stored in the loft.

"Publishing is Dead" Virtual Gravestone
Formatted for all popular e-book platforms, it can be easily delivered to iPhone, iPad or anyplace where cash-rich and time-poor parents are buying picture book apps to just shut the kids up.



  1. I laughed so it hurt - almost as much as it hurts to have the bottom of the ladder as my permanent place of residence. Off to grease the rungs...

  2. Snortle!
    Brilliant stuff Nick.
    'e-book blatherings'particularly tickled my fancy.

  3. Brilliant Nick - very funny with a spoonful of ouch :O)

  4. Ha! Very funny!

    But what advice do you have for people who have spent the last ten years climbing the wrong ladder?

  5. I've only just discovered you, Nick and thank God I have. That was so funny--but with more than two grains of truth.

  6. Love it! Very funny and so true. 'Falling can be frequent and painful!' - I'll say! No matter how wobbly we all keep trying to climb it!