Friday, October 8, 2010

The game of writing and publishing

Tip of the Day: Want a chance to win a copy of IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES? There's a contest at Marcia Hoehne's blog where you can enter to win. 

So yesterday, Tina talked about whether or not it's harder than ever to publish in today's market. Author Cynthea Leitich Smith commented that she loves supporting debut authors, but she can barely fit them all in over the course of a year.

This is a good sign, yes?

When I went to the SCBWI conference in LA in August, the agents and editors all seemed to sound hopeful about the market. I certainly didn't walk away with a sense of gloom and doom or anything.

I think, however, that there are more people than ever writing for kids and teens. And I know there are books circulating out there that are great and incredibly well written and yet, they aren't being bought. So it got me thinking - how do you keep going when you know it is SO competitive? When your drawers are full of rejections and it feels like all hope is gone, how do you keep going? Or, should you just give up? Should you admit defeat eventually, and stop trying?

I think as long as you can still find some joy in the process, especially in the writing, you shouldn't stop trying. So much of this business is right place, right time. And you won't hit that right place, right time if you stop trying. And you certainly won't write the manuscript you were meant to write and sell if you stop writing.

With each story I begin, I have no idea if it will be good or not. I don't know if it will be something that sells. I don't know if it's going to be something that I'll even finish. But I love the process of making my way through a story with characters I've created, and seeing what happens. It's challenging for me, still, and I love a good challenge! That's why I keep doing this - because there is joy in the process of writing for me.

If at some point, however, the joy is gone and the process of querying and/or submitting is sucking all the life out of a person, and the writing isn't fun anymore, I think it's time to stop and think hard about the options. Because honestly, life is too short to be miserable. For most people, having a book published doesn't change their life *that* much. Is it a good experience? Some of the time, yes. Not always, though. Ask any author who has had a book published but had incredibly low sales how he/she feels. I bet you get a lot of mixed answers.

My kids loved playing chess when they were younger. They would play me or my husband again and again, even though they lost most of the time. They simply loved the game, whether they won or not. They weren't this way with most games. Most games, it was all about winning. But not chess.

I think writing is like that. If you love it, keep playing. If not, it's okay to move on to other things, like my kids have. Although just last week, my younger son asked his dad if he'd play chess with him.

And guess what? My son won!

~Lisa, Miss Crafting a Career


Stina Lindenblatt said...

Great post! I started querying yesterday, but am well stocked up on dark chocolate to get me through the rejections. Fortunately, I also have two new outlines waiting to be converted into first drafts, plus an idea for another novel simmering. :D

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Great post!

I've found that you do grow a thick skin about rejections after a while. Having some bits of validation along the way helps too.

I'm on my fifth book now and am trying to put aside all the doubts and "almosts" of the submission processes I've gone through and just fall in love with the story process again.

Andrea Mack said...

You really do have to love writing to stick with the process because it's so difficult, if you have that dream of being published.

DeenaML said...

I got revision notes from my agent and am so excited to dive into them, to make my book even better, sale or not. I mean, it WILL sell, but even if it takes the next one, I'll write it!

Anonymous said...

Yes a good post.
Personally I don't see the point anymore.
All the Literary agents are fully subscribed; no-one even reads your novels (i.e. mine by the way!); and you can't get any publicity without publication.
You have to write something way-out or be a TV Celeb or something to even get a whiff of interest.
I just think sadly 'it's who you know', just like every other walk of life in this country!