Between us writers, do you write to publish?
For those who do, I’m jealous. You seem to have connected with the fundamental reason why we write: to tell others things, important things, playful things, things that entertain and challenge and change us. You’re an Author.
And if you don’t write to publish, why not? Is it a fear of what other will say? The sting of rejection? Perfectionism that won’t let us let your work go? The worry of what happens next – be it fear of success, or fear of the business responsibilities that come with success?
That last one is probably it for me. I like writing fine, the way I like hanging out with childhood friends or going to Vegas. But I see how hard many of my writer-friends work to sell and I think, How will I ever have time to keep up my regular work hours AND manage the part-time job that is Being an Author?
It’s only recently occurred to me that those Marketing Blitzes and Book Tours and Goodreads Giveaways and Amazon Campaigns are exactly the problems I DO want. Whether I sell to a publishing house that wows with their marketing machine, or if I work with a boutique that at best will be a marketing partner, the fact is this: I want to be a published writer.
And I will figure it out.
My writer-friends have, so why can’t I? They tell me it’s awkward at first (and for some that social media piece never quite connects), but as they acquire and practice the skills, it becomes natural, doing all these things that mean being a Published Author.
I still had a question for them, especially the ones who still struggle with Price Points and School Visits and Being Accessible and Relatable on their blogs. I asked: Would you take it back? Would you have not signed with your agent, not taken the publishing deal, and not gone on this journey?
And to a one they looked at me like I was nuts.
Because this is the ride. In modern times, being a good businessperson is being a good writer. And vice versa.
I finished writing a book last year, one that is really dear to me, the culmination of all my craft lessons and mentor input and writer’s group challenges and cheers. A few agents have had a look. They love the writing, but the ending, oh the ending – it needs work.
The feedback is the same that every other writer on the planet hears: I’ll need to do some more work.
That doesn’t bug me. I’m good with work. Been doing it my whole life.
What bugs me is what if I do “fix” that ending and I pitch and land an agent and she sells it and suddenly I’m on the Ride? And all these things I’ve been studying about the business of being a writer are needed (finally!) and I rush headlong into the fray and my life gets crazier and more complicated but then one day I walk into a bookstore and there it is. The book I’ve been avoiding for a year now. Right there on the shelf, winking at me, and telling me that I was a Writer all along.
Why aren’t I writing to publish?
Why aren’t you?
This year I’m doing something about this Not Publishing nonsense. I’m going to the Ultimate Pitchfest. It’s one day, June 11th, 30 agents from a range of genres, at least some of them will be looking for what I write, and all I have to do is tell the story of my book on a Skype call for 10 minutes. There’s even a class ahead of time with Chris Mandeville to Perfect My Pitch.
This year I’m challenging myself to publish. Want to join me?
Denver’s First Ultimate Pitchfest
June 11, 2016 – 8AM – 4PM
30 Agents. 300 Pitching Sessions. $30 a pitch.
Trai Cartwright is a screenwriting, creative writing, and film studies professor at the Colorado Film School and University of Northern Colorado. Read more about Trai and her work at her Craftwrite website. She can also be found on Facebook.
Susan Gourley says
Good for you, Trai. I write to publish and it is scary at first. Now the work that comes after the writing is just part of the job.
Rachna Chhabria says
Though we all write to be published, initially there is so much fear in all of us, fear of criticism, fear of being judged by our writing.
This year I have already challenged myself, I am writing a new genre and age group.
M. K. Theodoratus says
Why not work to publish your writing? Because it’s a pain in the patootie?
I’ve sold fiction and non-fiction when there were minor markets that paid what “good” markets pay now. I’ve even gone the self-publishing route [short stories] when I had a book contract with a small publisher that imploded. Now I’m looking at the possibilities of marketing and/or self-publishing in the current market, and it’s enough to make you upchuck.
Why did you say you wanted to write to publish? Career envy or ????? I don’t think I saw any real reason to sacrifice the time to inflict pain in your blog. You just have to be a fool or a caring mama who wants to see her baby grow.
Gary Sand says
Thankfully I don’t have to write for a living, so I don’t write to sell. I only write when I have a story to tell, and the inspiration to tell it. I’ve had one book published by a small publishing house, but since I’ve only completed one novel I guess my success rate is okay. I despise marketing and self-promotion, so I’ll never be a successful author, and that’s fine with me.
Margot Kinberg says
I think at one point or another, every writer asks and faces the question, ‘Why do I write?’ The answer determines what we do about our passion for writing. Thanks for sharing your perspective.
Dean k miller says
I am with Alex. Never would I go back. I wrote for a couple years just to write. Then a magazine picked up an article (with a great pay day) and after that I never looked at my world the same again. Everything I wrote and kept in me was now outside of me in a new world before me. I still write what I find inside me or at least my reactions/perceptions to what I witness, and yes, some of it finds it way into the publishing world. Many say it’s a journey that changes your life. But I believe it’s simply finding the life’s journey I was born to live this time around. What could be more satisfying than that?
Alex J. Cavanaugh says
Would I go back? Never. Four books and a journey I never could’ve imagined – I wouldn’t give it up for anything. I don’t even think about the crazy marketing stuff. I look back and all I see are the many friends I’ve made along the way…
You will enjoy your journey!