Sage advice from one of the Good Guys
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(caveat – I’m clearing out my Drafts Folder on WordPress, so I’m coming across posts that should have been posted but either due to sloth or ignorance, were utterly forgotten.)
Jim Butcher is a fantastic writer. The Dresden Files have been someone of the most entertaining books I have ever read
There’s a great page on his website and really the whole thing is worth a read but here’s the takeaway:
Bottom line, you have to put in a lot of work to get your writing quality up and running. And you have to keep on writing the whole while. Then you have to learn the market, both on the business end of things and on the reader end, so that you can put together a good picture of who you should go after. Building contacts at conventions and so on doesn’t hurt.
But finally, I think, you have to have the attitude of a successful writer. Rejection shouldn’t discourage you. It’s just a part of the day, like a thunderstorm or a car horn. It happens, it isn’t personal, and if you get stopped cold at one door, you might be warmly welcomed at another. Be polite, friendly, and well informed. Do your homework. Read agent and editor guidelines. Figure out who is producing stuff like yours, and go after those people. Tell them that you targeted them specifically, and tell them why. That kind of forethought is professional behavior, and it will impress them.
Breaking into print is an arduous and discouraging process for darn near everyone who makes it in. Sure, there’s always someone out there who writes a novel and has it go ballistic their first time out, but there are people who win the lottery too.
Here’s the secret of how to get published: keep going.
–Jim Butcher http://www.jim-butcher.com/jim
Kids, and I say this with all of the love in the world I’m capable of giving – what the hell is wrong with you? At some point in the last 15 years, a bunch of you woke up and decided that not only were you going to be writers, but you were going to be writers TODAY, and then you scribbled out your first story or novel and deemed it EXCELLENT. Your friends said – DOOD! and that was enough for you and you were ready to take on the world.
Then some of you looked around and saw what kind of work went into getting published – editing, drafts, contacting agents, and writing queries and some of you did it for a minute and when you were rejected you decided that traditional publishing wasn’t for you. Screw the GATEKEEPERS!
Except, Son – the gatekeepers and publishers and editors aren’t the problem. The problem is you gave up. Being told no as just too hard and you decided that route wasn’t for you, and for some the effort that turned you off. Writing is hard, the words come easy, and for a good storyteller that will always be the case – but the craft isn’t just telling a good story – it’s writing one. The writing part, the getting good part – that takes writing and rejections and writing and getting an inch and writing. Getting good ast sometimg takes trial and effort, but some just want to skip to the glory.
Yay for you, but I’m not reading it. And Reviewers don’t want to read it, and it doesn’t matter how many free copies you give away on Kindle, it’s the sales and recognition that count and there are just too many tiny people out there shaking their tiny fists at the “establishment” who honest to god can’t write but want very much to be a part of that “establishment”. They took being told no, not as cue hint to polish and work and sweat, but as an aberation, an abomination against their personage.
Hats off to those that work hard and make it, you .01%, and thank you for rising above – you know, putting out effort to make the reader love your words and your characters. You, I admire, because it’s tough to go on your own, everyone knows that. give an hone
Please don’t insult your potential reader ship by giving them cobbled together, poorly-sentenced, error-ridden crap. Don’t insult them by making them buy the slush pile.
When you don’t try, when you give up, you become part of the problem – granted any problem I have to deal with