Publishing: What The Hell?

Posted by on Sep 13, 2011 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

Yesterday, we talked about marketing, and it was really more of a rant than anything. I know as I publish more books, and become more experienced with it, things will come easier. As with anything, the more you do it, the more comfortable you become, and as such, your confidence in said topic begins to increase.

Publishing however, is a completely different story.

I have one novel under my belt, so as far as I’m concerned, I’m a major noob. In fact, I purposely refrain from giving any sort of writing and/or publishing advice on this blog. Today I’m going to carefully step away from that rule.

Every writer is different. It’s not that I don’t have anything to offer other writers necessarily, but there are more than few people who jump into the world of writing, and take everything they read as fact. To me, writing is a craft we each develop in our own way. We find different things that work for each of us, that may not work for anyone else. The last thing I want is for someone to do something I said worked, and have it fail miserably for them.

Once I started writing Exiled, a lot of  people I knew told me they always wanted to write a book. Others said they’ve written tons of books, but never looked at getting published, but they have such original stories they totally could. Still, others told me how easy it was, and continued to explain to me how the publishing industry works, because they “know” someone who is published. Then there is always that little group that wants you to tell them what to do.

Let me address all of these one by one.

First, if you want to write, then write. People who write stories, long or short, have a passion for writing. Whether you take it any farther than that, who cares, it’s something you do because you love it. Props to you.

Second, you’ve written dozens of novels that are all publish worthy? You have better books than Harry Potter? Congrats to you, that’s an amazing feat!

Third, whoever told you publishing was easy was an idiot. Sure, it’s easy to click upload with anything you’ve written, but putting up material that is ready to be read by the world, and is indeed worth the money you charge them to read it, is not easy. Publishing a book is hard in more ways then you can know, without going through the experience.

You’re taking something from your imagination, putting it on paper, letting your heart and soul drip onto the pages, then, ripping it apart to make it perfect. To create a reading experience you want others to have, you’re taking simple words, and turning them into real people. People that jump off the pages and infect others imaginations. You’re building a world that doesn’t exist, yet somehow, the person reading your story is getting lost in it.

If that’s easy, I’d hate to see what you think difficult is.

Lastly, I can’t tell you what to do. And by can’t, I mean, I don’t want to. It’s impossible – for me – to put it into words, and do the industry justice.

When I started to consider publishing, I had no one. I wasn’t on Twitter, so I didn’t know the amazing community of writers that were there. I searched for writers groups in my hometown, there was nothing. I had absolutely no knowledge of what I needed to do, or what was to come. So I started doing my research.

I googled writing, I read books, I followed literary agents and editors blogs. I researched authors  and contacted them to get great resources. I did the work and it paid off.

I’m not saying I’ll refuse to help. That’s not it at all, I’ll absolutely share my knowledge, that’s what knowledge is for – to be shared. What I am saying, is you need to do your own research as well. Two people could read the same book, and take two totally different perspectives away from it. So for me to tell you what to do, is wrong on so many levels. Again, I’m happy to share my knowledge, or send you links, but to sit down and explain everything you need to do, and then have you follow my instructions without looking into anything yourself, would only be hurting you as a writer.

My point? I’m absolutely, without a doubt, willing to help anyone, in any way I can, but if your serious about getting into the industry, you need to take charge and hold yourself accountable. Invest the time in doing the research, and learning what you can, and I’m more than happy to help you along the way. As long as you understand I’m only sharing what I’ve learned, and what works for me. I can’t offer more than that.

As to whether or not you can do it?

You can.

This concludes the What The Hell portion of this post. Now on to a brief acknowledgement to YOU!

Sometimes as a writer you get caught up in the sales figures, the next project, or trying to make time for writing, and we forget that we do this because we love it. Don’t forget to enjoy what you’re doing.

To all the people that have already published, or are on there way. You amaze me. Each and every one of you. I know firsthand the challenges a writer faces when diving into the trenches. Whether it be to take on the entire project yourself and self-publish, or begin your journey into traditional publishing with the infamous query letter. If nobody has told you lately what an incredible thing you’ve accomplished, consider that remedied. You are incredible. You’ve done something than many only dream of, and in case you’ve forgotten, you should be damn proud of yourself.