Happy August, writers! Join the Insecure Writer’s Support Group at Alex Cavanaugh’s blog.
Thank you to this month’s courageous co-hosts:
I love this month’s question: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?
I’ve faced publication pitfalls galore so I hope that sharing them will help newbie authors avoid them. Here are beliefs that put the pain in publishing:
1) “I’ve got this writing thing.” I thought my debut novel was well-written. It wasn’t. WRITING IS A CRAFT. It takes years of developing the craft even to knock on the door of good writing. I feel more confident in my day job after over twenty years of experience, so why did I think I was competent at writing after only a few fledgling years of fan fiction? Fortunately I had the opportunity to re-edit my debut novel seven years later, so at least now I can read it without cringing.
2) “My book should hit the shelves soon.” I pride myself in finishing tasks efficiently and often feel impatient when others don’t do the same. The fact is that publishing is full of excruciating waits. Waiting for…responses to queries, publication contracts, multiple rounds of editing (fortunately my editor is super speedy–love her!), proofreading, cover design, book design, marketing materials, marketing assistants…and that’s before the book is even released. Not to mention it’s rare (and often requires years of persistence) to publish with a large publisher who gets your book on shelves.
3) “It’s clear when a book is good or bad.” Reading is so subjective! What one reader loves, another hates. Regarding one of my brash heroes, one reviewer said, “Where can I get a Dane in my life?” whereas another said, “Dane is the WORST hero I have ever read about.” I felt proud of the writing in my latest release–too bad it has been my worst seller. Considering the subjectivity and flooded market, we need to write the stories in our hearts instead of wondering what readers will like or buy.
One common thread through all of my pitfalls is expectations. I wish I could quiet my planner brain and live more in the present. I don’t know much about Buddhism, but one friend described it as “letting go of expectations”. Sounds like a good way to live and write.