Monday, January 21, 2008

I Can Do That

We’ve all heard about how difficult it is to find an agent, and harder still to get published. We’ve heard about the impossibility of earning a living as a writer. We should just throw our pens and laptops into the trash can and crack open a book, right? But new writers get published every day. Really. Nathan Bransford mentioned in his blog last week that according to PW, 3,000 books are published each day. Sure, many (maybe most) are written by previously published authors, and I have no idea of the breakdown between fiction and non-fiction. But debut novels are published every day too.

Last week, an agent passed on the full manuscript for The Cemetery Garden because it got “bogged down in the middle.” Luckily, I received another agent request the day before and sent the full manuscript right away. I’ve decided not to consider rewriting The Cemetery Garden until I complete my next manuscript (goal date: March 31). When I emailed published author Sophia Nash on the status of my journey to publication, she wrote back: “You are playing this portion brilliantly - by continuing to write. That's the hard part. But I have to say that it's the only way to hone your craft.”

How do we stay motivated and become debut authors? Advice on this subject is abundant. Maria Zannini’s April 16, 2007 blog discusses motivation. Maya Reynolds suggests treating your writing career as a business. She should know. She followed her own plan and made it happen.

Here’s a true story that should motivate us all: A writer watched each of her friends get published for 8 years. And last summer she sold a manuscript which ended up being a 2 book contract. Then in December, an editor at another NY house plucked a manuscript that had languished in the slush pile for 2 years. They offered her a 3 book contract. When her first house heard about her single title sale they wanted 2 more books. Then – are you ready for this - ANOTHER editor plucked ANOTHER old manuscript from the slush pile in late December - and offered her another 2 book contract. She has to finish or write 9 books in the next 18 months and will be published by three different houses. That's what happens if you just keep writing and submitting!

Bottom line or big picture, however you visualize it best: Writers with goals, determination and positive attitude (and yes, either natural or hard-earned talent) are more likely to be published.

I can do that.


pamela hammonds said...

Wow! We should all be so lucky to finally be plucked from the slush pile. What a nice "problem" to have. You're right. I needed that bit of motivation on this cold, rainy day.

Maria Zannini said...

Thanks for the link, Joan. Glad it was useful.