Saturday, July 27, 2013

Every writer wants to be published

That's a true statement, right?

I think it is, why would someone spend many months or even years writing a book and not want anyone to see it?

Why indeed?

But if it is true why do people come to appointments at conferences, get a proposal invited on their project, then never send it? Why do they stick them in a drawer and never send them in? I still do think these writers would like to see it published, so what's the deal?

It could be a lot of things. Maybe they don't think it's good enough. Or maybe it really isn't good enough but they aren't taking the steps they need to take to grow their craft and MAKE it good enough. Or maybe they don't do it because they can't or don't want to do the things that would be required to go out and publicize the book if it were to be in print. There are probably other reasons, but these occur to me right off the top.

Probably the biggest one that I hear, however is fear of failure. I can identify with that. There have been times in my life that I haven't tried something because I was afraid I would fail. And if I did? What would have happened, someone would laugh at me? I might lose some money? When I thought it through, the downside was never that big.

But there's another way to look at it. Writing something and never submitting it IS failure. Submitting it and risking rejection is taking a chance on success.

Or maybe the writer HAS tried a couple of submissions and gotten turned down. There surely is rejection involved in submissions, but it isn't something to take personally. Our work either fits an available slot at a publisher or it doesn't. Not only is such a rejection not about us as a writer, it probably isn't even about how good the writing is, but rather about the fit to the market. I don't even call them rejections, I call them a 'negative market reports.'

At any given time our work may only match up with one opportunity in the whole publishing industry. The trick is to find that open window and get our work in it before it closes. Then our work may only fit one other place but now it's a different window that we have to find. I spend most of my time looking for open windows for my clients.

It is true we should not make a submission until our work is as good as we can make it and equally as true that we should continue to grow in our craft until we are a good fit for one of those open windows. But there comes a time when we have to stick our neck out and send our baby out into the world and try for publication.

That's what writing is all about, isn't it?


MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, DMin, MFA said...

Amen, Terry! You've targeted the primary reasons writers don't follow up on a request for a proposal. I see the failure to follow up as a very serious issue. If we don't submit our work, we don't give God the opportunity to bless us with publication so that we can bless others with the words He has given us to share. This writing business is not about us. It's about obedience to Christ by using the talent He has given us for His glory. This doesn't mean we won't encounter obstacles along the way. Consider Joseph. His destiny was to be second-in-command in Egypt in order to bless God's people. Yet, when he was taken as a slave, he must have wondered if he were on the right track. But he was. So it is with us when a manuscript is rejected. We must never give up when we know that God has called us to write for Him. As we remain steadfast in our faith, He will see to it that we reach our goal.

Thanks again for another inspiring post.


T.W. Lawrence said...

Most people struggle with the fact that the actual act of writing is only about 5-10% of the effort needed to have a book successfully received by readers.

No one likes to be told "no" or that their work is not what some agent or publisher is looking for at that time. Hence your window analogy.

Getting writing in the hands of those who will like it is a journey - not a mere destination.

Finding and following that path is in itself satisfying. Acceptance by others is out of my control. I trust that it is in His. He gave me the talent for a reason.

Angela Drake said...

HI Terry.. I just found your blog while researching travel in 1874. Thank you for sharing your insight from both sides of the barbed wire.