Well, the last few weeks have been different. Finished up with the convention I was at, finished moving, and then some personal issues cropped up. Suffice to say, I haven’t been writing much, but I promised a weekly post and I’ve been slacking!
So, this week we’re talking about getting published. Let’s be clear: I have not yet been. I have a good agent, so it is probably reasonable to assume that at some point in the distant future, I will be. However, this is not a fast or easy process. I sent in my first submission to a major house back when Baen Books first started taking electronic submissions. I don’t even remember when that was, though I was still in high school so that makes it almost a decade ago.
Now, I’ve had a few false steps and some distinct bad luck. (At one point, I was in semi-direct contact with an editor who lost a manuscript directly sent to him twice before managing to read and ultimately reject it). Nonetheless, I am hardly unusual. I saw a survey recently, which unfortunately I have lost the URL for, which said that the time from attempting to get published to being published varied from six months (I kinda want to punch this guy) to thirty years.
There was a point where I kept thinking ‘in six months, I’ll be published.’ I did this a lot. Even then, however, I realized that relying on that idea for anything was… not bright. These days, I mostly write for my own enjoyment and to tell the stories that come into my mind. I do have other outlets for storytelling, but there are few things that match the written word for showing someone else whats in your mind.
But this does lead into some advice for those of you who want advice or ideas: don’t write because you want to make money. Don’t think your piece is the next masterpiece (mine has no deep meaning, though I won’t deny certain themes). Write to tell the story that’s in your mind. Write to make the parable or point that you want to make. Write because you WANT to write, and enjoy it, and want to share your work with others.
Then if you’ve told your story, or written your parable and enjoyed writing or learned something, you’ve won. You’ve succeeded right there. Anything else is icing on the cake – getting published is just the cream cheese fondant icing: the best you can get.
Write for yourself and the story. Once you’ve GOT a story, then you can begin the heartache of trying to sell it, but never, EVER write it solely to sell.
Till next week,