I’m sure most of us have wondered from time to time why we bother trying to get published. Aren’t we just setting ourselves up for disappointment? Aren’t we spending hours and hours writing for nothing?
I’ll admit, there have been moments of weakness when I have asked myself those very questions. Wouldn’t it just be easier to put my writing tools away and do something with a more immediate return and less chance of failure? Almost as soon as I ask myself something silly like that, I realize how foolish a thought it is. I don’t write because I expect to make lots of money and gain buckets of glory. Sure that would be nice but it isn’t my reason for creating stories. I write because I enjoy doing it.
So let’s start with an easier question. Should I or should I not try to get published? To answer this question you need to look deep within yourself and see how important being published actually is. For me, I want to see the books on the shelves and go to the signings and share my experiences. It is very important to me. I guess that means I should try to get published.
This leads to a related question. How long should I try to get published? I think the answer here is “as long as it takes”. You might want to periodically re-evaluate the importance of getting published. If the importance changes (goes down), then you can decide whether you’ll keep working or not.
OK, we’ve asked ourselves whether we want to be published or not. If the answer is we do want to get published, then we must write. Without written work, you can’t get published, right? However, if you answered a big “NO” to getting published, you need to once again look within yourself. How important is writing to you? Is it part of your life or just something you think you have to do?
If it’s part of your life, you won’t be able to give it up. That’s the boat I’m in. I’ve got to write. I start feeling anxious if I haven’t written anything for a while. On the other hand, if you just think it’s something you have to do and you hate doing it, maybe you should give yourself a break. Set a time limit and look at yourself when the time has expired. If you find your life is still everything you want it to be without putting words on paper, maybe you should find something else to do and enjoy.
If you have decided that writing really isn’t for you, you needn’t read any further. If you are on the other side of the fence, read on. I’ve got a couple more things to say.
First of all, expect your writing to get better the more you do it. It’s like anything in this world, the more you practice, the better you get, so write as much as you can. Also, if you have aspirations to get published, don’t be afraid to ask for advice and critiques about what you’ve done.
Secondly, send your work out. Send it out often and don’t be afraid of rejection because you will get rejected. Keep writing and send your new work out too. Most authors will tell you that they did not become overnight successes. If you need inspiration, look to people like Scott Sigler and Mur Lafferty. They didn’t take no for an answer. When they didn’t get the responses they wanted, they found other means to build audiences. It took them some time, but they both are either published or getting published soon.
That’s the way I’m going to treat this. I’m not published yet, but I will be. I’ve written four books and I will have three of them doing the publisher rounds by this fall. One is already out at a publisher. I will get published eventually and so will you if you want it badly enough.
Have a good week!