Saturday, March 14, 2009

Do you have staying power?

It took me six years to get my first book published. A few years ago I did a survey, talked to over 450 multi-published writers (people who had published more than one book) and was surprised to find out averaging all the responses that it came out to be six years for everybody. 85% of all people writing a book will never be significantly published according to the stats, and this one figure is the primary reason. They don't have staying power.

Writers who have stayed the course, learned their craft, made the necessary contacts, knocked on the appropriate number of doors and finally started having success tend to resent people who try to take short cuts and expect those strategies to take them to the top. The same way people slowly inching up in a traffic zone resent the people who feel genetically entitled to drive all the way up to the front of the line and expect to be let in. Grrrr.

But it happens, people do find a way to cut in at the head of the line. Only a handful have been able to do that and it actually work, actually end up with a title that is a big seller and gets picked up by a big house to go on to even more success. Most of the time they pretty much waste the book and make the task of getting back in line and trying to do it right even than much harder.
But I'm not talking about POD or self-publishing, there are valid reasons for doing that, and I often recomend it to someone as the right strategy for them to get their book out. I've talked on that before. I'm talking about trying to get into the big show via some method of cutting into the line at the top and getting a book out to avoid the process everyone else had to go through. We all know the difference between the two, or we should.

We don't expect to be a big name surgeon without going to medical school, or a mechanic without going through some training, or even flipping burgers at Sonic without going through a training program. Why would we think we could just write a book and immediately have success without going through the steps that all other writers have to go through, without learning our craft and making the necessary connections? I don't know, any more than I know why some people feel they have the right to drive past all the people in a line and be entitled to cut in at the front.
Why indeed?

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