Author’s Advice Pt. 8

How difficult is it?

Heh, unbelievably if you go the traditional route! Even if you go the indie route, it’s difficult…

Okay, that’s the short -literal- answer. Here’s the real one:

So you’ve got an idea in your head. You’ve got a story you want to write, now you want to write it and get it published… awesome!
So how do you do it? How do you make yourself stand out and accomplish such a goal when everyone and his mother wants to get something in print.

First of all, put the thought of everyone else out of your head. You’re not competing with the literally billions of people who want to get something published, you’re not. Why do I say that? Take enormous number of people, now cut that number down by the amount of people who actually have ideas that can be put to paper, creative stories, recipes, historical reference, etc. Suddenly that Billions drops to a few Billion.Good, that’s a start.
Next cut out the number of people don’t actually WANT to write something like that down and/or who don’t have the time/drive/determination to do it. That brings the number down into the millions.
Finally, cut down the number of people capable of writing length manuscripts. I know it sounds like I am taking a stab at the intelligence of people and I’m trying not to… but we all knew those people in college that struggled to write a ten page term paper. Heck, I had people drop out of one of my advanced history classes when they found out that our final grade was a 30 page paper.

Now you are down in the thousands. Next, cut out all the people who don’t have the drive/time/determination after getting the book written to take the time to submit it to agents and keep getting rejection after rejection until one finally says yes. What does that narrow it down to?

Well, I can’t say, because I honestly don’t know. The truth of the matter is that there are an uncountable number of agents out there and each are looking for the next Harry Potter or Game of Thrones. Are you willing to keep at it? Are you willing to continuously send out, re-evaluate, and rewrite hooks and presentations to agents?

If you decide to go the indie route, are you willing to take the time to advertise and submit your book for purchase?

So I realize at this point, that I haven’t answered the question. How do you compete with the rest of the world? Well… you don’t. See after subtracting all those people and answering the above questions, the remaining number is 1. That’s right, you’re competing with 1 person; yourself.

You will be fighting the urge to give up, fighting frustration, fighting your own tendencies and shortcomings, and in the end, whether or not you’re able to get published lies completely with you and no one else.

Sound easy? It’s not. Facing down yourself is arguable one of the hardest things a person can do, which brings me back to why I said it was unbelievably hard. You’re going to get frustrated. You’re going to get depressed, and you’re going get discouraged and question whether or not it’s even worth the effort. How do I know? Because I’ve been there. I got rejection after rejection before I put Divinity on the back burner to work on Magnifica, but I think my cousin said it best, “You can get a million ‘no’s’ but who cares? All it takes is one yes. You get that yes, and all of those no’s are completely meaningless.”
Very true!

At this point, you may be expecting some sort of pep talk out of me, telling you to keep at it, to never give up, and never quit.
Be prepared to be disappointed. Honestly, I’m not going to say that to anyone because I am not going to lead you down a primrose path. Getting published is not for everyone and many would consider it not worth it. Even after you do get published, where does that leave you? Do you think Dean Koontz, Stephen King, John Carpenter, and the like get rich of their book sales? Think again.

The truth is, authors get closed to nothing for their books, it’s a very small %. The few that do make it big, do so because their book sells millions of copies and then get’s turned into a movie. At that point, the author’s income comes from going to conventions and giving talks at schools and such, as well as their share of the proceeds from the movie.

Most authors will never see that kind of money within the pages of what they write. So all I am saying is be realistic. If you are prepared for all of the above, then have at it and good luck to you!

If not, stop, put the pen down. Tell your story to your children as a bedtime thing or as an anecdote at a party. Writing isn’t for you and it’ll just cause you to neglect what matters most.

To steal a phrase from the NeverEnding Story…

“Kind people find out that they are cruel. Brave men find out that they are really cowards! Confronted by their true selves, most men run away, screaming!”
The same can be said for when you’re writing. The hardest enemy you’ll ever face is yourself. Think about that before starting this monumental task.

Anyway, that is it for this one. Catch you on the flip side,

-Jim

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