I self-published my first novel before it was ready to be shared with the public. The story had merit, so I assumed it was publishable. Wrong. Looking back, I’m embarrassed.
Conference season has arrived! And that means a fair amount of nail biting for new and returning attendees alike. Meeting authors you admire, pitching your work to agents, and trying to absorb as much knowledge as possible can be stressful.
Rejections are a staple of the writing life. That sounds harsh, doesn’t it? But it’s true. I have a notebook where I track the status of all my short story submissions. I’ve recorded roughly forty titles in it from 2019.
A NYT-bestselling author I heard once argued that readers tend to “read fiction to escape. Authors are entertainers,” and whether we like it or not, we need to give people what they want. But is this really accurate? Or is there a deeper reason for why people read fiction and what we need to thus provide them as storytellers?
“Ye shall not surely die.” Ever since the snake whispered in Eve’s ear in the Garden of Eden, mankind has been susceptible to lies. Our volatile emotions open up vulnerabilities for falsehood to sink its teeth into. As writers, a distorted mindset can hinder our growth, damage our creative potential, separate us from reality, prevent us from accomplishing goals, and trap us in despair.
How is fiction useful? Is devoting our lives and careers to it appropriate? Most of us have wrestled with these questions. For some, concern has been posed by parents, who want to ensure that their children spend their time constructively and seeking truth. Others have sensed unspoken skepticism from the culture around them, as if writing couldn’t possibly be a meaningful pursuit on its own.
Red ink everywhere. If you’ve ever had your writing edited professionally, you’ve experienced the dread of opening the revised document for the first time. All the markup can be discouraging and overwhelming.
If you’ve pursued publication for any length of time, perhaps you’re already aware of tips and tricks on how to grab an agent’s attention. Maybe you understand the importance of building a presence on social media and learning how to market a book. Maybe you’re even continuing to enter contests and submit to publications in hopes of expanding your credentials. These efforts show your dedication to becoming a well-rounded author, which will help you appear professional to an agent.
Have you ever wished you could skip to publication? Waiting can be discouraging, especially when a dream is involved. Writers at all stages have felt that their stories would never appear in a bookstore.
At intervals throughout your journey, you’ve probably wondered whether you’re a good writer. Unfortunately, I can’t sympathize because that thought hasn’t occasionally crossed my mind.