Friday, May 2, 2014

What's An Author To Do?

Happy Friday All,

Recently I've gotten some questions that I want to address, but I don't want to come off harsh. 

First off, let me say I sympathize with aspiring, not-yet-published authors. I've been there. I was there for years. It's hard, it's frustrating. It feels like your work will never get into the public eye. It feels hopeless and impossible. You're searching for that right combination and keep hoping someone--or something--will have the magical answer that will grant you that coveted title of "published author".

Or, you're one of those authors who have queried, and queried, and queried and keep getting rejection letters and are so frustrated you don't know what to do. I've been there, too.

The thing is, there's no magical potion, there's no short cut, there's no surefire combination. It truly is research, learning, growing,
I don't even own a magic wand.
being there with the right people at the right time with the right story. I know, it sucks to hear that. It's tough to hear that. It makes you want to scream. But it's the truth.

I'm not trying to be mean or harsh or uncaring. I'm trying to be honest because lying to you wouldn't do you any good.

Someone once asked me if my publisher would publish said writer's book. My response was "I don't know. Research their website and see if your story fits what they're looking for. If it does, query them."  Seriously. I can't speak for you. I can't make a phone call and say "So-and-so author has an incredibly amazing idea that you want to jump on!" Because I don't know if it is the right incredibly, amazing story that publisher or agent is looking for. Especially if I haven't read your story. Especially if I don't know what genre you write. I have NO clue. I have to pitch my stories to my publisher same as you. But I can't guarantee that my publisher is going to say yes. 

Now, I have a pretty good idea of what my publisher is looking for, so with my own (note, my work, not anyone else's) work I can decide whether or not I'm going to pitch it to my publisher. But I can't speak for your work. In fact, it's something agents and publishers don't want. They don't want to hear from anyone about your work except you. They want you to query them to tell them about your awesome story. They don't want me to do it because it's not my story. It's yours.

Another question I got went along the lines of "I want you to use your connections for this book idea." It was a Non-fiction book. I don't write non-fiction (other than blog posts, the occasional essay I've done in the past, and some personal poetry). I write Fiction. Primarily Romance (even my New Adult novels have a Romance focus to them).

The only Non-Fiction I know that covers Romance are books on writing Romance or Romance publishers/agents. That's it. Any connections I have are just with other authors, and they'll tell you the same thing I'm telling you:

Do your research. 
Learn your craft. 
Attend conferences and writers' group meetings. 
Read blogs on writing and publishing.
Follow the professionals on Facebook and Twitter. 

I hate crashing hopes like this, but like I said, I have to be honest. I don't have a magic carpet to offer you. I can't sell you the Golden Gate Bridge, and there's no short cut to the title "published author" (even self-published authors have to research cover artists, editors, beta readers and how-to format and put out their work).

I've done some blog posts about suggestions on resources for trying to get your work published in the past, and the same old advice always given:  Write, write, write. Read. Research. Query. And,
don't give up. If you're the praying type, pray. Think positive thoughts. But none of us have a short cut to offer you. We've had to do the same thing you're doing and sometimes we still do.

Please know, I wish you good wishes on your journey and those of us who have published, do understand your frustration and we will keep rooting for you.

Have A Fabulously Fantastic Friday Everybody!


Stephanie Faris said...

I'm not 100 percent sure how to handle the questions I get now that I'm published. Often I think people are actually wanting me to pass my book along to my agent or publisher for them when they ask, "Will you read this and tell me what you think?" It's always someone I went to high school with or a distant relative. It's just awkward...but I read it and tell them the same thing you wrote in this blog. If you want to get published, join a critique group and attend workshops and conferences and work your butt off. It's really that simple--but they want to know about a shortcut that doesn't exist.

Bethany said...


Hey! I've seen that you you're getting your work out there--congratulations!

Yeah. I get where they're coming from, too. It sounds cold, but every newbie author has to learn this.

Best wishes to you, and your publications. Take care and thank you for dropping by and commenting. :-)