Posts Tagged ‘publicists’


    

     We all choose different paths in our approach to the business of being published according to what it is we want, and these days, there are more options than traditional publishing, in which the writer seeks a publishing house to represent his or her work, usually at the cost of several years of rejection, and/or having one’s self-esteem beaten down and battered to a bloody pulp by a series of professionals who may or may not know what they’re talking about.  Now, we live in an age of indie art where writers can publish their own books.  There is conventional self-publishing in which the author fronts the money to have his or her book put into print, and is solely responsible for the sales, marketing and distribution of the book.  Also, we now have print-on-demand books in which a publisher prints whatever amount of books the audience requires and the author puts no money upfront as the cost is taken from the sales of his or her book.  There are branches of each of these methods of self-publishing (some more appealing than others) extensive enough that a writer these days has far more options than he or she once did, and personally, I think that’s pretty wonderful.   However, despite the fact that I am currently standing in that terrible position where it feels like the whole publishing world is standing in line to get a chance to tell me I’m not good enough, traditional publishing is the path I have chosen.   

     Before I began this journey, I first gave a lot of thought to what it was I wanted from this.  I knew that if I was going to pursue this path, that I was going to be in it for the long haul, and that I would need to be willing to go through whatever level of hell I had to in order to get to where I wanted to be.  I suppose this explains the several-years reluctance in which I shied away from this whole “writing thing” as if it had fangs and a thirst for blood, but nevertheless, this is the path I have chosen.      

     After fully understanding all of the various avenues of publishing, I firmly settled on traditional publishing because I knew that, although I would meet far more resistance, going the traditional route would ultimately lead me down the paths I wished to wander.  I realized that even if I failed, I’d be far happier having given it all I had than not having done everything in my power to make it happen. 

     That being said, there are several disadvantages to traditional publishing, not the least of which is the possibility that you might never see your book in print.  Agents and publishers are flooded by manuscripts on a constant basis and it’s very likely that your pride and joy will be buried, overlooked, forgotten or never even looked at.  To break into writing the traditional way, you need to have a firm faith that one day, someone will see your work and have a strong enough vision for its possibilities in the market.  You need to believe that your writing is strong enough to stand out among the abyss of other talented author’s books.  Above all, you need to be patient and you need to keep writing.  If you’re going to take this route, it’s not enough that you’ve written a book.  Now you need to write the next one.  And the next one.  Eventually, you will have a pretty vast library of material for an agent or editor to choose from, and if you can get their attention once, they’re going to want to see more of your work.

     I’m lucky.  I have that faith.  I suffer terribly from other various personal insecurities, but there is one place I have total faith and that is in my writing.  At a soul-deep and cellular level that is impossible to explain, I know I’m in the right place, doing the right thing.  I may not be published next week or next year, but it will happen.  Despite the fact that thus far, I’ve garnered six rejections from agents, and been (so far) ignored entirely by another dozen, the towel isn’t feeling anywhere near heavy enough that I think it needs to be thrown in yet.

     What someone traveling down the traditional path needs to understand is that rejections aren’t personal.  This is not an attack on the author or their work.  This is an agent giving you respect enough to admit they don’t have the vision necessary to take your work to the heights it could reach.  I have yet to meet a rude agent who tells me that I suck and I really need to just give up.  In fact, the agents I’ve corresponded with have been encouraging, pleasant and professional.  A few of them have taken a sincere interest in my book and offered some good advice.  In that way, this is nowhere nearly as brutal as I had expected… but then again, I’m pretty new still.

     I’m sure I’m headed for some far harsher dealings, but I’m tough enough to be told no.  The fact is, I don’t have to have this right now.  Whether or not I ever get published is, as far as my writing’s concerned, inconsequential.  I will continue writing, and then writing some more, whether or not it happens.  I’m okay waiting for the right agent, the right publisher.  I believe with everything I am that somewhere out there, exists someone who will have that vision for my work which will carry it to the places that I can not.  I’m not an editor.  I’m not a marketer or a publicist.  I’m not an agent or a publisher.  I’m a writer.  It’s my job to write the best novels I can, and to trust the other professionals to do their jobs the best they can.  I don’t mind being told that I need to get better at my job, so long as it’s by someone who knows what my job entails.  As far as I’m concerned, it would be arrogant of me to write a book and think it was good enough to impact the market without getting some serious professional input.  So I’m not going to go down that route.  I’m going to do my job and I’m going to do it well. I’m going to continue getting better at it until, one day, I can be where I set out to be.  But it takes time.

     And as that time goes by and my rejections pile up, I am encouraged more and more by other writers to self-publish.  But I won’t.  I know far too many people in this business who are successful to not have faith in it.  And besides, I respect the business.  Despite the neglect it’s awarded me thus far, and despite the abuse that it will surely hurl at me in the future,  I love this business too much to walk away.  I couldn’t do it anyway. I am learning good business and good ethics.  I am learning how to effectively write some truly knock-out, wicked good stuff.  And above all…  I am meeting my heroes… the ones I looked up to when I was a kid.  It’s an honor to be among them.  Who am I to turn my back on that?

 

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     Today, me and my friend Joe attended the League of Utah Writers spring conference at the Bountiful Arts Center.  Writing conferences, workshops and retreats are quite varied in their range of possibilities.  Some of these events are overflowing with writers, publicists, agents and publishers, while others are smaller and more limited in their scopes of activities and purpose.  I have attended several of these conferences in the last year and, for a couple of reasons, the one I attended today was one of my favorites.

     The spring conference began at 9:00 a.m. and ended at about 3:30 p.m.  The first speaker was Jennifer Nielsen, author of Elliot and the Goblin War, with Sourcebooks Publishing.  The next in the series, Elliot and the Pixie Plot will release in May and a third will follow this fall.  Jennifer Nielsen opened with a great speech on the psychology of characterization.  In this segment, we learned how to understand the psychology of our characters through a series of different exercises.  Jennifer was an awesome speaker and presented the material in a way that was both fun and informative.

     John Brown, author of Servant of a Dark God series by Tor Books was next.  From him, we learned the secret of story structure and how to develop a killer story.  In the secrets of story structure, I was struck, as I often am when I am talking to a real-life published author, by his no-nonsense and simplistic approach to the art of storytelling.  There are so many convoluted myths and “formulas” out there that it’s always nice to hear  a successful writer tell you, as John did, that in order to be successful, you don’t need to follow any specific confusing formula, be an alcoholic, suffer from any mental disorders, be especially blessed by the talent gods, be inordinately gloomy and moody, or wear funny hats.  Instead, what he (and so many other published writers) believe in is practice, self-discipline, goal-setting, the tenacity to continually improve your craft, and the courage to press onward in a business that is highly competitive, persnickety and often seems unfair.   John Brown was a passionate, enthusiastic and incredibly funny speaker.  He is someone I’ve decided I would really like to get to know.

     After him, Margot Hovley, whose first novel will be released in summer of this year, spoke about the ten most important rules of (good) writing, and finally, Marion Jensen (who writes under the pen name Matthew Buckley), author of Chicken in the Headlights and Bullies in the headlights, spoke on using social media in the writing process.  From him, we learned the importance of, and the most advantageous ways of using sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and myriad blog sites for networking with other writers, promoting our work and utilizing the kind of content that will attract the kind of following you want.

     This conference is one of several I have recently attended and what fascinates me is the fact that it hasn’t become dull to me.  Each time I attend a conference, I learn new things, meet new and fascinating people and leave with a stronger sense of confidence in my writing as well as a firmer belief that I am doing what I should be doing, that I am right where I belong.

     My friend Joe just signed up with the League of Utah Writers last Tuesday.  This was his first conference, so it was very cool for me to get to be there.  Joe is an incredible writer who seems to be in that same frustrating place I was in a few years back~ I knew I wanted to write, knew I was good at it, but wasn’t quite sure exactly how to go about it.  At that time, the whole thing seemed so overwhelming.  It intimidated me and vexed me to no end.  Then, after much hesitation, I decided to check some of these conference things out.  What I didn’t realize until I started attending was how important these conferences are, and how many doors they can potentially open.  Don’t get me wrong… I am still frustrated, vexed and intimidated, but now, I understand how very normal these feelings are in this business… and that I am not alone, and that makes this all a whole lot easier.  Not to mention, I have met some incredible people, been given some awesome opportunities and had a damned good time of it.  I hope my friend Joe finds the same things.  He seemed interested throughout and afterward, said he had a good time and said we should do it again.  So Joe… good luck to you!  And yes… let’s do it again. 

For more information on the authors, check out their websites:

www.johndbrown.com

www.jennielsen.com

http://www.appendixpodcast.com

www.marionjensen.com

www.margothovley.com

www.luwriters.com