Friday, October 23, 2009

Why aren’t we Published?

AQAdvHelga NOTE: We have another winner of the Disagree with Me contest!
 Sara ♥ wins a book of her choice by noting that Mentors do not prevent the hero from coming to harm. A Mentor is not a stand-in for the Hero’s mom (although she certainly can act as a mentor). Congrats for noting that right away! BTW I discovered that Sara won by a mere 5 seconds. Incredible.

Disagree with anything you see here? You could win! Although I haven’t added anything intentionally wrong in this post…it’s just a bit facetious overall.

Why aren’t we Published?

I actually don’t have much to say today. No nuggets of writerly advice are springing from my brain. I’ll probably continue my Hero’s Journey series on Monday. I’m about to head over to SteamCon, Seattle’s Steampunk convention so I don’t have time for a detailed post.

I will say that I have a new hope. Some of the books I’ve been reading lately are great, but some are simply atrocious. Talk about turning off your inner editor—it’s one thing to constantly hound yourself over bad writing, it’s simply another when you’re reading the utter tripe released from a major publisher. I literally want to mark up the book and send it back to the author with suggested revisions. I’m about 50 pages in and so far it’s been nothing but boring conversation about backstory. WTF?? This was billed as a romping adventure!But, like I said, this gives me a new hope. I know I write better than this person. In fact, I’ve read much of your writing too, and I know many of my blog readers are excellent writers. So what’s stopping us from being published?

I can tell you why I’m not published yet. Aside from the fact that I haven’t queried agents (except agent contests and the like), and I haven’t submitted anything to publishers. I’m not published because I don’t have a novel that’s ready to be published. I plan to remedy this over the next few months, starting with my NaNoWriMo novel, which I will talk about next week. I could go on and on about why my existing works are not worthy, but that would fill a book. Suffice it to say that my growth as a writer has far surpassed my ability to revise past material. So, I’m starting fresh.

So. Why aren’t you a published author?
(BTW if you are published, answer “what took so long?”)

So here are my Steps to Becoming a Published Author:

  1. Write something good.
  2. Throw it out and write it all over.
  3. Get feedback.
  4. Realized your stuff still stinks and throw it out again.
  5. Finally hit on a winner. If you’re lucky.
  6. Send to an agent/editor. Deal with rejection. Return to Step 1.
  7. Sell and Publish!

See? How easy is that? Good luck!


  1. First, a question? Are you reading Category 7? If you are I feel the same about this novel.

    Second, a statement. I think Stephen King called that moment author identification. When you start reading a book, and realize that its as good as or worse than some of your own work...or when you think "Well, I could have written that."

    Third, a disagreement. Authors cannot judge their own work, typically because we are far more harsh in judging our own work than we are in judging other peoples work. The decision that our work isn't publishable isn't for us to decide, it is for the publishing world to decide. You've written what 8 or 9 novels, chances are that at least one of those is publishable. On average, a personal observation not a definite statistic, a writer will write something publishable on the their third or fourth novel attempt (the first and second are almost never salable with few exceptions).

    Fourth, an answer. Why am I not published? I'm still currently in the revision stages of my first novel, and have yet to begin the query process. I hope I'm one of the exceptions to the sort of statistics I mentioned in the last paragraph (lol).

    Anyway, I hope you had fun reading my comment:)

  2. As a supporting point to my disagreement...sorry I can't keep my mouth shut...Stephen King trashed Carrie (his first published novel) because he thought that's what it was. His wife saved it.

    (And, there is your Stephen King trivia for the day. lol.) Have fun.

  3. Oh...still can't keep my mouth shut...I hope you have fun at SteamCon

  4. I agree with your disagreement, but I believe I already pointed that out in steps 3 and 6.
    However, I do believe I can judge my own work, otherwise my first draft would be my last. And I'm not Stephen King (yet).

  5. I'm not published for the same reason. My stuff simply isn't ready yet. My writing isn't there yet. Pick a reason. The point is...I am happy that I know that. That I'm not one of these people that thinks that their first attempt is genius and subsequently begin killing any chance of working with hundreds of agent by querying a novel that just isn't ready. I queried two, then stopped, and said. I should have someone else take a look at this. My daughter loved it, but my daughter loves just about anything that I write, so I sent it out into the world to get ripped apart. I was glad I did. The advice is consistent, and I feel like I know where to get started if I ever decide to publish that first manuscript.

    I have read many things myself that made me wonder why my books weren't on the lovely polished shelves of a local bookstore yet, then I remembered, I don't want people to throw my book in the fire in disgust. I need to work on it a little longer.

    And I agree with both you and Ryan, I can judge my own work, but sometimes it needs fresh eyes, because sometimes we can be overly harsh on ourselves.

  6. inner grammar girl wants to fix a bunch of stuff up there. Just know that I'm quickly typing on my lunch hour, so you must allow me a little room for bad, bad sentence structure.

  7. Well that's easy for me- I'm not published because I'm not good enough yet. I need to write more books. I know that. The more ideas I get the more confident I feel. It will take time, and I'm aware of that. I haven't queried any agents or sent anything either, but that's not the reason.

    I think you can judge your work to a point, but there always needs to be more eyes on it to say if what your saying really matters to anyone but you.

    BTW I love your post pics. So cool :)

    Great post.

  8. I thought I was a good judge of my own work too. I then queried agents with a POS first draft manuscript. IT was embarrassing. I learned not to query with that first draft. Lol.

    Anyway, yes you did cover that, but I took something you said earlier that you hadn't queried any of your work at all. That's why I was disagreeing with you.

    Ahh...Don't we all wish we were Stephen King already. Lol.

  9. I've sent my work out but too soon. Nothing I've written is ready. But at least now I recognize that fact and can do something about it. It's my biggest piece of writerly advice--don't query before it's ready.

  10. I have not been published because I haven't written anything. The fear of not being published when I want to so bad is what prevents me from writing. I have had a bunch of bad support over the years- no one ever wants to tell someone with real raw talent that what they are writing doesn't fit the bill. So you get ego-itis. Then you post to a forum. Lack luster criticism. You are humbled yet determined. You usually write poetry and fiction is new. You've written a couple bad short stories, you come up with something good and you want to try your hand at a novel. You know you can write, you know it. But you have never written a novel before. Your writing classes say start with short stories, encourage you to be a short story writer. But you're hungry. You're also busy. And social. And not disciplined because you are afraid of not getting published. This is my cycle. This is why I'm not published.

  11. I think getting published has to do with the stars lining up just the right way.

    Not that I am into zodiacs or anything.

    I hope my stars will be lining up soon. I feel closer anyway :-)


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