Hi folks, I'm continuing my series about writer myths. I hope that you are taking time to write. A writer friend of mine, Ellen McGinty, had some good advice for me about holding to your vision and not being moved by the fickle winds of conventional opinion. She inspired this post.
This week is for every writer that feels left out in the cold by the publishing industry. Maybe you need three warm dogs to keep you from freezing.
Dog #1: Your story is too different. No one will publish it. This kind of conventional thinking wars against originality Here is the deal. Your story is not common. That doesn't mean it's not good. Many, many publishing professionals will confuse not common with not good. You must believe in your vision and keep knocking on doors. Do you believe in your story? Be it's advocate. I am sure of this: readers will flock to originals if given the opportunity.
Dog #2: Your story is too regional. When this sage statement comes my way, I always think of this story. This guy wrote a story about a very unlikable slothful, unemployed guy in New Orleans who is looking for a job. Man, lots of folks looked at this book and passed. The writing was wonderful, genius, really, and the rejections this guy got were flattering and encouraging. Yep, John Kennedy Toole author of A Confederacy of Dunces hit snags with his regional work. His path to publication was through a university press. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Sadly, John, took his own life before he got to see his book find its way. The deal is that just because it regional doesn't mean it's not for the whole world. If you have a regional perspective, but know your story is for the whole world: DO NOT GIVE UP!
Dog #3: Publishing is a business. Writers and publishers have slightly different goals. Publishers want to make a quick buck. Some writers want to make a quick buck too. For example, if you want to make money, "sex sells." Check out Ellen Degeneres reading some of that shades of gray book. I guess this will trickle down to the YA market soon enough. Write that if you want to make money. If you have other goals, read on.
Some writers' goals include to challenge, enlighten, empower, shock, etc.readers. Some write because they know there are folks who feel very alone, and they are not. Difficult, challenging and deep books are never an "easy pitch" to publishers. Here is something very important for writers, artists, any creative souls-- just because you are not creating to make money, does not mean that your work is worthless. It may make the publishers money beyond their wildest dreams. It may not. Your risk taking might hinder your success but not stop it. You've risked a lot by choosing a road less traveled. This is not the easiest road, but I believe it is the most satisfying. Publishing is a business but writing is an art form. Be true to your art.
I hope that my three dogs warm you up some. I will wrap the series next week. :)