Time and Patience

Like many emerging writers, I thought the mere act of writing a book would bring me cash flow and semi-fame. I figured most people never finish writing theirs, and those that did would probably never submit. I'd have it made by finishing mine, giving a good, clean edit and sending it off to the magic world of agents. They'd read the first couple of pages and go, "WOW!" and contact me immediately with a big contract. Sheesh. How wrong was I?

Writing a book is hard, but there are loads of people out there with not only one, but multiple manuscripts waiting for representation. Finding an agent is one of the most difficult things one can do on this earth, but I've heard being on submission is even worse. And money, if any, isn't going to start pouring in. It may trickle, it may spurt, but it isn't going to be like an avalanche of green. The publishing industry is in a weird state presently, and money is following along in cautious step.

And patience. I wrote my first manuscript in a month, but it took years to shape it into something I could be truly proud of, then another year of working with an editor. It takes months to hear back from agents, it takes time to be on submission; if you're a short story writer it takes many months to hear back from journals, and even longer to see your work in print. Any writer who believes they can bypass all this waiting will only find themselves on the losing end. Remember what happened in the Tortoise and the Hare?

And it's no different for those who self-publish. I've witnessed the process and can say that while a SP book generally has a faster release date than that of someone who has followed a more traditional route, there is still much waiting to be had, and a lot more pressure to promote. Bookstores and libraries are often less willing to stock a self-published work.

So, go into writing with realistic expectations. Instead of placing your enjoyment on the idea of money and instant fame, put it where it really belongs: the actual writing, the joy of your character's actions, the satisfaction of a job well done. That, in the end, is what matters.


Comments

  1. Send Steven Spielberg a copy... that's where the money is! A friend of mine wrote a small children's book called War Horse, it's since been made into a stage play and movie.... he's done OK.

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    1. I believe that many movie companies return any submissions still sealed, as it protects them from authors claiming their ideas were plagiarised when, five years down the line, a vaguely similar story makes it onto the screen. Sad, but probably both true and necessary.

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  2. You should be so proud of what you have accomplished.

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  3. The one thing I was born without...patience. I've heard you can learn it but, I'm a slow learner.

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    1. There are days when I have less than I'd like. Today, for instance, I seem to be checking email incessantly waiting for the impossible. I need to get my mind off all those short stories I've sent out.

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  4. This was a good piece on being realistic and patient and I am so happy for you, Amy. I just wish the industry was a bit different.

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    1. Thank you! But I guess it has to be this way, to help keep writers from having big head disease.

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  5. Couldn't have said that better myself :)

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  6. 1st-time visitor to your blog. I sure like how you write and your profile says you like Jack Finney, so I'm joining up.

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    1. I'm glad you're here! Yes, Time and Again is definitely one of my favorite books.

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  7. You nailed it, sister. When I first started writing, I heard of people who had "taken a year off to read." I was like, "No way this is going to take me a year to accomplish." ("This" being "getting published.")

    Oh, how I had no idea. Ha!

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    1. Exactly. Publishing is a time warp!

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  8. Well said! There's no easy way. I'm working on my patience because it's definitely hard when you're not yet where you want to be. But I love to write, and that, along with the accomplishment of creation, makes it worth it. Great reality check. Have a great holiday weekend. :)

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  9. Dear Amy, you have so aptly described my naive outlook on writing from years ago. Now I am more realistic. I've spent years looking for an agent to no avail, and so have taken the route of self-publishing. That will never make me rich or famous, but it will get the story out there to a few readers. I'm pleased for your success. Peace.

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