Monday, October 8, 2012

Publish or Die Trying?

Hi Friends. I'm pondering a question and I hope you'll give me your thoughts on it. You know how some school classes are graded on a bell curve or some other system that makes certain a percentage of students will get 'A's, 'B's, etc.? The bottom students will fail, the top rise. Those in the middle are stuck.
Does this apply to getting published?

I've heard published authors say to keep at it and eventually your efforts will be rewarded. It's not a matter of if, but when. You will become published. It kind of makes sense. The more you practice and learn, the better you get. Too bad it's not like an absolute scale where if you meet the standards--do such and such--you get an 'A'. You win. The problem is that getting an agent or publishing relies on winning over the opinions of skilled others and nailing market needs at the right time. Too many factors without absoluteness.
Should all of this concern writers? Will all our efforts be in vain?

No. Not for me anyway. Not when I'm doing what I love. And I'm seeing progress. Hope is what we have to hold on to. There are milestones along the way and success could be just around the corner. Besides, there are indie and other publishing options if we need a plan B.
What do you think?

On a similar note, a friend of mine from my former critique group just saw his first book published. I recall one point in his earlier frustration where we told him that time would pass whether or not he completed his project so he may as well do what the editors wanted. Now he can celebrate. I want to give a shout out to Brock Cheney and his playful nonfiction about Mormon pioneer food-ways in Plain but Wholesome.
Photo: Woot WOOT! Just got a call from Radio West on KUER 90.1 FM. Listen in Monday at 11a.m. for a feature on PLAIN BUT WHOLESOME!!!


Donna K. Weaver said...

I guess it all depends upon why we write. And I think self-publication has really changed it because publication or not is up to us.

Congrats to Brock!

Nichole Giles said...

I think there is no such thing as that bell curve anymore. What exists in it's place is like this enormous mountain, sort of like Everest. Once we start climbing, we have choices about trails. There's a branch off for self publishing. A couple others for small press publishing, another for those of us looking for agents, and then there are more trails for big publishers.

Every time we reach a trail, we have to choose what path is best for us. No two writers will ever take the exact same path to the top, so our friends can't help us decide. But we do have to make a choice. And only we know what that choice should be.

But I firmly believe that those of us who persist, who work hard and push forward and possess that masochistic inability to quit, to stop climbing, we WILL make it to the top. It might not be on our timetable, but it will happen.

Off my soapbox. Thought provoking post!

kbrebes said...

Great post, Renae. Ditto to Nichole's words. I owe you a letter and I promise, it's coming!!

Jordan McCollum said...

I don't think every writer will be published by trade publishing, and I'm not sure every writer SHOULD be published (people who seek publication for a book that really only has appeal to their family, for one example).

However, I'm certain that if we give up, we will NOT be published.

Heather Justesen said...

I don't think every project will necessarily be published (I've got AT LEAST one that will not see the light of day again unless I do a massive rewrite--like basically from scratch!). But I think a determined writer, one who will keep working and improving and moves on to the next project instead of putting all of their hopes on one specific book will eventually get published.

Renae W. Mackley said...

Awesome comments, friends! What I got from these: Why we write is important. Some writing is for a personal or limited audience. We own our own choices and they must be made, but persistence through our trials is key. Not every work should or is worthy of publishing. Options are out there. Thanks!