Tag Archives: manuscript

Are You a Writer Who Writes Manuscripts or Books?

I have several published books on the shelves and I have about 20 unpublished manuscripts at home in various forms.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:

  1. Write an incredibly interesting manuscript.
  2. Edit said book
  3. Find 5 or so interesting publishers who publish your type of manuscript – Writer’s Market is good for this.
  4. Write a synopsis
  5. Write a Query letter – This is a lot harder than you think it is.
  6. Send your manuscript to 5 publishers.
  7. Get rejected
  8. Send manuscript out to 5 more publishers.
  9. Get rejected
  10. 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)
  11. 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.
  12. Manuscript is published
  13. Sell it to family and unsuspecting friends
  14. 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.
  15. Dry your eyes and spend the next 6 months trying to convince the world to read your book.
  16. 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…..????


© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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Permission to Write the Worse Stuff EVER!

You now officially have my permission to write really bad copy. No, I am not narrowing my competition in the field of writing by encouraging you to write crap. I am simply giving you permission to explore your own writing.

Writing is a process and throughout that process there will be a lot of material that you will look back on and ask yourself, “what the heck was I thinking”…that’s okay. While it may feel like a waste of time to write really crappy stuff, it’s not. The really crappy stuff has to come out onto the page so that you, the writer, can mine for the really good stuff.

Many writers tend to attempt to get their manuscript “right” the first time. On one hand, no one really enjoys rewriting and on the other, what writer wouldn’t want to confess in a later interview, “no really Oprah, I only wrote one draft and now here we are”. Truth be told, I would love to make that statement but it is never going to happen and here’s why. I tend to cut out about ¼ of the material I write in any given project. Sometimes I cut it because I meandered somewhere along the way and a dragon showed up in my crime novel set in 2010. (don’t ask) Sometimes I cut because one of my characters went rogue and has done some things that make no sense at all. And sometimes I cut because a night of drunken writing has suddenly given my manuscript an MA rating. (for mature audiences due to violence, nudity and excessive use of scary bunnies) There are a lot of reasons to cut but most times I cut because the writing is really bad.

The key to writing a good novel is to give yourself permission to write the bad stuff. The bad stuff is a good sign. Every writer explores while they create; the bad stuff is just a byproduct of the writing process. So for the purpose of writing well, sometimes…write badly and be okay with it. Look at it this way, if you didn’t write the bad stuff once in a while, you would have no idea what the really good stuff looked like.


© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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