Tuesday, March 3, 2009

How much do you want it?

Do you stew every second of the day, thinking about it? Do you imagine grandeur moments of receiving a phone call from a huge publisher seeking to publish your book? Taste it with each typed word? Well, if you’re a dedicated author, determined to succeed, then yes, you do. And why wouldn’t you? Like me, you’ve worked hard to hone your craft.

You prepare a submission, send it off and wait. After a few weeks, most of the time months, a response arrives. Sigh...it’s a rejection. So, do you give up? Hum, your determination isn’t great and powerful enough if you do.

So you join a critique group. After posting some of your novel, you wait for your fellow critique partners to comment on the story. They do and the blinding red splotched across the pages inspires a defensive reaction. Why? Don’t you want to hone your craft? Remember, all the people whom you hope will buy your book will each have a different interpretation of your story. So what do you do?
Give up? Or look through the comments and see which ones are common and which ones are opinionated. You make the corrections and repost. You’re learning and growing with your craft.

Hurray! You’re finally published and the finished product sent off to a reviewer. You wait for what seems like forever. A review shows up on your Google alert. Yes! You zip over to read it and your mouth drops open. The reviewer hated the story. So was your book that bad or was the reviewer having a bad day when she read your work? Time to look inside and see if the problem is with yourself and your writing. It’s your call on whether you’re being honest and admitting maybe, just maybe there’s some truth to the reviewers comments. If not, then ignore it. Not everyone will love or understand your story.

Next, you receive your cover. Omigod! It’s the worse cover an author can have. The hair color for both hero and heroine is off. Their faces aren’t what you described in the book. The colors are hideous. Embarrassed, you rush an email to the editor but it doesn’t do any good. The cover stands as is. Do you accept it and move on or complain and whine until you make the editor and publisher angry?

Writing takes a tremendous amount of discipline and dedication. There are many ups and downs. An author must realize this at the start. If you don’t then the trip down the writing yellow brick road will end up worse than Dorothy’s and Oz simply a mirage along the horizon. Writing also takes some intense soul searching too. For me, writing is humbling and reminds me I’m not perfect. I strive everyday to improve my ability by learning more and more about the craft. Why? Because I want the reviewer to love my story, I desire my critique partners to love my story, I yearn for readers to develop a passion for my books, but most of all, I crave to do the best I can with my talent.

So, how much do you want a publishing contract? Do you step on the roller coaster ride to publication or do you talk the talk but skip away from the walk? Let me know what writing and seeking publication means to you.


lastnerve said...

wow, awesome blog today! I think that is what so many authors need to read right now. I am TRYING to write a book and I know that I will be referring back to this blog some more in the future

Judith Leger said...

It's hard but it's worth it too. Don't give up.

Marianne said...

Excellent blog, as I can understand becoming defensive. but, you are correct when you say we must hone our craft to fit the genre of what an editor wants. I have tried for over 20 years but, like most of my life, my family came first. Now they are all grown up and I'm a grandma! I have all the time I need to become the author I want. Classes, and reading info from people published give me the opportunity to do so. I have a thick skin, so to say, so critiquing gives us insight into what we need to work on. Great blog!

Heidiwriter said...

Good thoughts. I wanted it badly, if only to validate me as a writer. If I had known how much work marketing was, would I have wanted it so much? Yes, I think I knew and I think it's worth it! I was ready for it when my book came out, but would not have been a few years ago.
Cowgirl Dreams

AC Katt's Previews said...

I want it so much that I put in twenty-four hour days. I refuse to go out to eat so I can "get a little more done."

I've fallen asleep over a glass of milk and spilled it into the computer and gave a whole new world of meaning to the idiom "you can't cry over spilt milk" when I lost my keyboard, followed by my mouse and then my computer in slow motion just before the NaNWriMo deadline!

I want it enough to learn to build a website, to blog and cajole folks into reading my stories. To become social, though I am socially inept. I could always win over an audience with rhetoric, but smaller groups terrify me. I've overcome the fear.

I've let rejection letters trample on my insecurities, got pounded for my grammar lapses and hounded for "poke" on a social network.

The younger ones laughed the older ones tsked, but I did it -- I sold a book to a publisher.

Now the question remains, do I have the raw nerve and the stamina to sell that book all over again - to the readers. I hope so, because readers are what we are all about.

AC Katt

Judith Leger said...

Hi Marianne! Yes, a thick skin is definitely a criteria for an author. Sometimes the negatives comments discourage but we have to keep pushing forward.

Judith Leger said...

Hi Heidi,

Me too on all of the things you've said. I never suspected but I've learn and am learning more and more everyday. Thanks for stopping by.

Judith Leger said...

If you went through all that with one book, then you will have another and another. Don't let others influence your dream. You will make it happen.

Linda LaRoque said...

So true, Judith. If you want it, you gotta fight, claw, drag your way to the computer/submitting and never give up.

Interesting comment about the critiques and reviews. Both can offer valuable information, but also can be subjective. An author must weigh carefully criticisms and take away what they feel will improve their writing while still being true to their voice, etc.


Judith Leger said...

You're absolutely right Linda. We both know that don't we, love. Thanks for stopping by!

Alicia Coleman said...

Your blog is excellent. I remember my first writing class. We were to write a fictional story based on fact. I wrote it and sent it in. When I got it back, the red marks and lines horrified me and the comments hurt just too much. I thought I wanted to quit. It took me two months to return the revised story. The story was accepted that time because I took everything said or written on the story constructively (is that a word?). So yes, I want it bad and am working on thickening my skin.

Chiron said...

Excellent essay, Judith! You've really captured the essence of success. How much do we want it?

Success comes to those who want it enough to keep pushing. Write ON!!

Great stuff here...

Chiron O'Keefe
"The Write Soul"

SIDEKICKS, Eirelander publishing, October 2009

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Oh Lord, now she is looking into souls.... LOL!

This is SO true, Judy!

You've put my - and most authors-innermost thoughts, feelings, fears and desires in writing!

I want it, I crave it, I desire it with all of my heart and from the depths of my soul (next to a closer walk with Jesus of course). :-)

I hear you now... "What is 'it'"?


Great post.