Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wish I knew Wednesday

This is my third Wish I Knew Wednesday that I am doing with Tess and anyone else who wants to join in.

When I first started writing, I wish I had known how ridiculously hard it was going to be. And by that, I don't mean the writing part. I had this idea in my head (scary place):) that I would write a book, wrap it up, send it off to a publishing house and PRESTO CHANGO, I would get this MONUMENTAL contract that amounted to thousands of dollars (and I mean six figure thousands) IMMEDIATELY. I know, I know, was I not the MOST naive person on this planet and beyond? I just figured, "who wouldn't want to read my book?"

When this did not happen I was crushed. I wish now that I had known that writing isn't just about writing. It's a hard business. And like any business it pays to research. That's the name of the game. Researching agents, publishing houses, and a host of other things. I told myself, "self you don't need no agent." WRONG! I'm glad I realized that I knew nothing about the world of publishing other than the fact that I wanted to be a part of it.

Now I'm getting butterflies in my stomach knowing that I am about to query. I mean really query. Those suckers are flying to and fro. To and fro.

And I know that most if not all of you already understand this. But. If. One. Person who is just beginning to tread on this path, reads this and learns, then it's worth writing.

And Beth, after Christmas I'm planning on taking you out to celebrate. Where ya wanna go? Huh?

Don't forget to enter Ann's fabulous contest. The prizes are all from South Africa. :)

36 comments:

  1. I guess my writing wish would be that I had known about critique groups several years ago before I sent my first novel out into the world, uncritiqued. Humiliation ensued. Now thanks to my wonderful critique partners, that will never happen again, but the memory still makes me want to hide.

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  2. I'll join you in that naive club. I thought I'd query, get a contact and see my book on the shelf within months. Silly, silly me. I agree with Vonna, I wish I had known about critique groups earlier.

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  3. The publishing world IS very eye-opening once you actually try to enter it. I couldn't believe people weren't just lined up around the corner, fighting to publish my book when I finally wrote those two magical words, "the end." But all this hard work to get noticed and actually spark their attention makes everything worth so much more. Ahh.

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  4. I naively thought that my background in magazine publishing would pave the way to quick camraderie in the book publishing world, or something like that. The real "goods" that publishers are seeking is a phenomenal STORY. So even if I can express myself well and have the education and credentials, I have no chance of getting published if my story is dull or stupid or deeply flawed.

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  5. Vonna, I agree about crit groups too. I posted on that a while back. I thought because my family loved my writing that I had this thing in the BAG! Oh man, was I ever wrong. :)

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  6. Patti, I guess I wasn't the only one grand goals when first starting out on this road. I thought I'd pass go. When I stumbled and fell flat on my face, I finally decided to check into this 'getting published' thing further. :)

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  7. Linda, I agree! It will be much more satisfying when it FINALLY does come to me. I will really be able to celebrate. :)

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  8. laurel, you are right. The powers that be want great reading for their customers. It's a business and I am trying to look at it that way. :) It's tough, but we will all prevail.

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  9. Robyn - yes, from personal experience, I know your mind is a scary, scary place. Very scary indeed. They could make multiple horror movies based on your mind. Ha!!

    I think every single writer out there thinks their first book is going to be a huge seller, they'll be set from life, and can spend their days doing what they love to do: writing. The reality: very few writers can quit their day jobs. The Stephanie Meyers, J.K. Rowlings, and Stephen Kings - unfortunately - are flukes in this business, and not the norm.

    Okay, where's the chocolate, I just depressed myself. Hate it when that happens.

    Still, I'm about to set forth querying (after the first of the year, since querying during the Holiday season is a definite no-no). I have a goal of starting on Feb 1. Yes, there are anxious little butterflies in my stomach already begin to flutter here, there, and everywhere. The feeling will only intesify as I get closer to the actual query date. I have my list of agents in a purple folder, will do some additional research on them as I go through the last polish stages of the manuscript.

    S

    p.s. I'm thinking of coffee right now! Ha!

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  10. Scott, well I said the end of December, I really meant January 4th. I never say exactly what I mean as to confuse you. :) Ahahahaha

    I am however studying agents. And my neck hurts and my eyes hurt and my stomach hurts too. But I mean to go into this prepared.

    But when I started out, I thought I WAS the next JK! And visions of autograph parties and made for TV movies danced in my head. :)

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  11. Oh and Scott, you drink too much coffee. Put that cup down! :)

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  12. You're right, this part of the writing journey is challenging. It seems like so much more work than just writing the novel. I'm approaching that query stage, too, and it's kind of exciting sometimes. But a lot of the time it makes me just want to sit down with my laptop and start another story to shut out the rest.

    I'll be your cheerleader, though, and root you on with the querying. Go, Go, G-O, get those queries out the door! Yeah, I'm a terrible cheerleader but I still am rooting for you :D

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  13. Yes, all that research that has nothing to do with the actual writing. I learned that, too, but it took a while!!

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  14. Cindy, I'll be your cheerleader too. We can help each other through the process. :)

    And I know what you mean about just shutting out the rest of this. And writing. Just writing.

    I have these constant butterflies that never seem to go away. It takes courage to query. I'm discovering that. :)

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  15. Nice reminder, Robyn! I started this game knowing a lot about how hard it was, and in the beginning I wasn't much depressed by my lack of talent, or the hard work required to write, nor was I depressed when short stories would get rejected. But, if the same piece gets multiple rejections, it does start to weigh down on you!

    I thought you were already in the midst of querying! If you're just starting, good luck!

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  16. Paul, It took me what seemed like forever to learn that this is a tough business. And I would have to toughen up myself inside to survive it. :)

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  17. Ha! I thought the same thing. I guess I wish I knew back then what I know now, but I'm afraid if I did, I never would have started writing.

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  18. Davin, I chickened out. :) But now feel ready. *gulp*

    Thanks for the good luck wishes. *gulp* :)

    I know one thin is for sure. I'm sure I'm not finished learning and I'll bet I will learn some things in this querying phase. I just hope it's all good news. :)

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  19. Susan, I would have written for pleasure if I knew then what I know now. I would NOT have decided to become published. No not I! So in that respect I'm glad I didn't know everything. :)

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  20. Robyn - studies show that at least 5 cups of coffee per day can help prevent Alzheimer's, and I need all the help I can since I plan on writing well into my 300s! Ha!

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  21. Best wishes to you as you REALLY begin the query process!! Looking forward to reading about a book contract in the new year!! :)

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  22. Oh, that's something I'm glad I did NOT know! I think it may have scared me from trying. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. And for me, not understanding how hard it was to actually find an agent and get published was good until I was finally ready to start submitting. Then I learned very quickly that the business is incredibly tough!

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  23. Scott, I want you to stop drinking coffee so I can get ideas for blog posts. :)

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  24. Maria, thank you for the wishes. I want to announce a book contract in the new year. I think 2010 is my year. :)

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  25. Jody, if I had known I would have been prepared. And preparedness is something I need. I understand not every writer feels like that and I do get what you are saying. I just really like to know what is going to happen. :)

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  26. Starbucks Christmas Blend. Dunkin Donuts Coffee. Starbucks Christmas Blend. Dunkin Donuts Coffee. Starbucks Christmas Blend. Dunkin Donuts Coffee. : )

    I truly have very few ideas zipping around in the vastness of my brain right now. Dunkin Donuts Coffee. Too much going on at work right now. Starbucks Christmas Blend. Must. Stay. Focused. Dunkin Donuts Coffee.

    S

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  27. I had NO idea one could expect to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. But would I have not done it? I will always write, hard or not.

    Now on to other news. Robyn, consider yourself TAGGED! My blog.

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  28. I was shocked the first time I found out people didn't want my novel. Shocked I tell you!

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  29. Tricia, REALLY? EW, exciting. I'll be right on over. :)

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  30. PJ, the gall! Not wanting our stuff! How rude! That's what I'm talkin' about. :)

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  31. I'm there with ya, sister! It IS hard! All this publishing stuff is definitely not easy. Best wishes to you as you venture into the scary world of querying!

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  32. Katie, Oh man! Scary it RIGHT! But I VOW not to chicken out this time. Uhhuh! Thanks for the warm wishes. :)

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  33. I'm so clueless as to the tough side of the publishing business. I think I'm too scared to venture to those unfriendly lands. I wish you all the best as you begin querying. I'm sending you tons of good luck. Wish I had a fairy wand... Can you tell that I'm spending lots of time playing Tinkerbell with my daughter? I better get tougher for those publishers :)

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  34. Kelly, I can tell you've been playing Tinkerbell. Oh man, I wish you had a fairy wand too. Any magic dust on you?

    I'm scared too. I guess every writer is at one time or another. Thanks for the good luck wishes. I AM holding on to them. :)

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