Monday, July 26, 2010

In the future, all writers will be changelings...

From a writer's perspective who has yet to be published:

I'm really glad my book is no where near ready to start seeking publication. Hopefully by the time I'm done with it, all these crazy changes will have smoothed out somewhat.

To use an extended metaphor...

In World of Warcraft, there's a certain type of character you can play that's called a Druid.
There are also three different roles you can fill when playing with a group: Tank, Heal, or Damage.

A druid can change into different animals on a whim, lending itself to the best, all-around character. It can be a Cat if the group needs someone to deal Damage. It can be a Bear if the group needs a Tank. And it can be a Tree if the group needs a Healer.

It can be any one role at any time.

In writing, there are different roles needing to be filled. You are usually working with a group of people 'cause getting a book published is a huge job. The roles of the group are: Publisher, Editor, Agent, Publicist, Cover Design, Writer, Buyer, Seller, Beta Readers, Copy Editors, and Blurb Writers.

That's a lot of rolls. And eBooks are changing which roles are filled by the writer and which are filled by the publisher.

Looking forward, I'm going to try to be as Druid-like as I can. I want to be ready to change into an agent if I end up having to contact publishing houses myself. I want to be ready to be a cover designer if I end up going with an online "Upload it yourself" eBook publisher. I want to ALWAYS be ready to be my own publicist and promote my own book.
I also need to be ready to treat my writing as if I'm a business owner. If I'm the one who ends up negotiating a deal instead of an agent, or if I'm the one doing my complicated taxes, arranging a book tour, etc., I need to think like an entrepreneur.

I'm a changeling!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

At last!

Dear fellow writers,
I'm writing to tell you of something exciting I discovered about writing.

There is such a thing as the wonderful moment when you know your novel is just the way you want it to be and you can forge ahead clearly.

That day will come. It is possible.
Just wanted to let you know 'cause I didn't really believe in such a thing until this week.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Writing Myth #5

Writing Myth #5: Once I'm published, the book will do all the work from there.

I keep saying this, but I'm not published yet. I'm not ready to be. But I've already spent years writing. If you want to be technical about it, I really started writing in novel length manuscripts at the age of 7 or 8 (can't quite remember. I keep changing the age when I tell this story).

That's just a little under two decades that I've dreamed of being a published writer. Over fifteen years of writing. Though I don't know if what I wrote when I was 8 could be called writing. (Cringe. Cringe. Why do I keep that stuff around again?)

Anyways, my point is, by the time I get to a point where I'm ready to be published, and so is my work, I'll likely have spent many, many years working on it. That's a lot of time. Wouldn't it be nice if once I finally got there, I could just hand over my book to a publisher, and then sit back and be rewarded for all of that work?

But alas! It is not to be.

Publishers these days are looking for people who are willing to self-promote their own book. A LOT of book signings, promotions, social networking, contest running, and GETTING YOUR BOOK OUT THERE is what needs to happen in order for a book to become a success. Publishers are also more likely to sign on with an author if they already have a public platform from which to launch their own fame.

Yes, you might have put years of work into your book. But when it's done, you're going to have to put in even more work before it will start paying off.

This is why the pay off for most of us needs to come from the enjoyment of the craft itself. No, we are not desperate but happy writers who will scribble anything for free. But we are hard workers.

I think I need to go back on something I said last week.
Last week I said that all of the time us writers have carved out for our writing careers, before publication, can be spent in pure writing. But that's not entirely true.
If you're thinking of being published someday, it never hurts to begin building your public platform before you start seeking publication.
A few years ago when I began to learn about what it takes to get published, I got serious about building a platform. I joined Twitter, started several blogs, became more active on facebook, and reached out to every single writing blog I could get my hands on. It was thrilling and informative.

But I quickly found myself not having any time to actually write anything.

So I haven't done a very good job recently of building up my platform, getting to know people, and reaching out to others who might enjoy what I write. But I've chosen to do that on purpose until I get to a certain part in my writing where I know publication is going to come into the picture soon.

It's a balance.

Just make sure you love what you are writing enough to spend lots and lots of time with it, 'cause you're not just going to be writing it, you're also going to be reading it aloud to others, signing hundreds of copies of books (hopefully), and maybe even toting it around the country on a book tour. You won't just be handing it over to a book publisher and watching the royalties roll in. As always, you have to work hard for your book.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Writing Myth #4

For those of you who found my previous post about quality and quantity interesting, you might want to check out Nicole's post over at Pimp My Novel. Apparently at least one author decided her work was not good enough to be published AFTER IT HAD ALREADY BEEN PUBLISHED and decided to take it off the shelves. Wow.

Read the post and let me know what you think. Does this speak to quality vs. quantity at all?

Writing Myth #4: I'll enjoy being a writer as soon as I get published.

I have not been published yet. But from what information I have gathered from other writers who have, I am very lucky to be enjoying the stage I'm at: simply writing without having to worry about publication.

It seems that once a writer is published, they receive pressure from their own brains and from their publisher/agent/fans to write another book. They feel pressured to raise up a fan base, promote their own book so that the next one is easier to get published, and to carry their own career forward. In the middle of all that, they still have to find time to write.

I'm issuing a challenge to myself and other writers who are yet unpublished to the degree they'd like to be:
Enjoy not being published.

Enjoy being able to write at your own pace, at your own leisure. Enjoy this time and consider yourself lucky. Every single bit of time that you carve out of your schedule for being a writer can be devoted entirely to actually writing. Once you're published, or even once you're ready to start seeking publication, a portion of that time will be taken away from the actual writing and put into self-promotion. You might be able to carve out even more time from your busy schedule to accommodate this, but maybe not.

So here's to enjoying not being published! :D

And let's also look forward to the day when we will be published, because then will come a different kind of enjoyment. I just don't want to throw away this precious time and wish I had enjoyed it more later.

Happy Independence Day everyone!