Sunday, March 28, 2010

Perservering Toward Publication

Publishing has changed since I started writing seriously back in the last century. At that time, there were a handful of big houses in New York who might buy your book, as well as a few small presses. Electronic publishing was barely a gleam in anyone's eye. The web was in its infancy. Chats, blogs, Facebook, Twitter--an author did not have to worry about these things like she does today. Now the big publishing houses have consolidated and been bought out so many times that there are only about three corporations running the whole publishing industry in New York. Numerous small presses have come into being, as well as many electronic presses. The options for a writer to sell her work have expanded tremendously. Our market today is very different than it was back in the 1990's. And yet it seems to be getting harder and harder to sell that first book.

But one thing has not changed. Even with the advent of new technologies, shrinking markets and increased expectations for authors, the single most important thing a writer can bring to the table is perserverance.

In order to get your work published, you must write. The more you write, the more you hone your craft. You must keep striving towards your goal, attending classes and conferences, getting feedback on your writing, constantly making it better. And you must submit.

Some truths about publishing:
  • If you submit your work, you may well get rejected
  • If you do not submit, you will never get published.
  • If you stop submitting--if you give up--you will never get published.
Getting published requires the writer to be in the right place at the right time with the right manuscript. That may seem a tricky proposition, but it has happened over and over again in this business. I know writers who sold almost immediately. Other writers, like me, who sold after only a few years. And I know still others who took ten, twelve, twenty years to make that first sale.

What if the writer who sold after twenty years had given up after ten years of trying? She would never have realized her dream.

I know sometimes it may seem impossible. Insurmountable even. But if you have faith in your own abilities and keep trying, you will create the best opportunities for eventually selling your work. Perservere, and success is sure to follow.