I have several published books on the shelves and I have about 20 unpublished manuscripts at home in various forms. Some are hard copies, some are on my computer and one is even on floppy disk. (although I do have a working copy on my hard drive. I just can’t bring myself to throw the disk away) Having both books published and manuscripts written makes me a writer…however…one of these things makes me a writer who can finish a project. Are you a writer who can finish a project?
I have a lot of writer friends. Hell, I’m damn near 50 and by this time, since writing has been pretty much a lifestyle for me as well as a calling, I have more writer friends than a person can shake a stick at. (Note – another of those sayings I don’t get…shake a stick at? Why would I want to do that exactly?) Of these writer friends there are many who have never published a manuscript. Some of them are just that bad and should be running a pizza joint but others are incredible writers yet, publishing eludes them. Over the years I have often questioned my writer friends who don’t publish as to why and there is one reason that rings out more than others…they don’t follow through.
To be a published writer you have to do more than write. While it would be great to produce a manuscript and then have some book fairy show up, (think Vin Diesel or Salma Hayek in tights depending on your preference…) and take it away and wham, you are published…but it just doesn’t work that way. There is a process to publishing and not all writers have it in them to do it. Then to make matters even more difficult, writers today have to market themselves too. It sucks. I personally would rather have a fairy.
Here’s the basics:
- Write an incredibly interesting manuscript.
- Edit said book
- Find 5 or so interesting publishers who publish your type of manuscript – Writer’s Market is good for this.
- Write a synopsis
- Write a Query letter – This is a lot harder than you think it is.
- Send your manuscript to 5 publishers.
- Get rejected
- Send manuscript out to 5 more publishers.
- Get rejected
- Repeat numbers 6, 7, 8 and 9 approximately 80 more times. (any more than that without positive feedback, it’s time to consider becoming a mortician)
- Publisher accepts manuscript but tells you to edit out all the interesting parts and write in a large blue bunny and it will be perfect.
- Manuscript is published
- Sell it to family and unsuspecting friends
- Realize that you have to do your own marketing which will end up costing you any advance you get (if you get one, you are lucky) and cry.
- Dry your eyes and spend the next 6 months trying to convince the world to read your book.
- Explain once again to your mother-in-law that yes you really are a writer and no, this isn’t your last book because you just got lucky this time around. (Listen to her tell your spouse that nice little Billy Warek became a banker and is still not married)
Writing is hard, publishing is harder but it can be done. You are still a writer if you have stacked up manuscripts in a steamer trunk somewhere (yes, I have one) but that isn’t the goal is it? Being a published writer is the goal and, sadly, there is a process we have to follow that, at times, isn’t so pleasant. This is the follow through and this is what many writers don’t do. I will admit that it is still, after all these years, difficult for me too because I, after all, don’t want to do the rest of the process; I just want to write. And I can do that….but that would just make me a writer who writes, not one that publishes. So what are you? A writer who writes manuscripts….or books…..????
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