Thursday, July 25, 2013

Every Writer Wants to be Published by Terry Burns

That's a true statement, right?

I think it is, why would someone spend many months or even years writing a book and not want anyone to see it?

Why indeed?

But if it is true why do people come to appointments at conferences, get a proposal invited on their project, then never send it? Why do they stick them in a drawer and never send them in? I still do think these writers would like to see it published, so what's the deal?

It could be a lot of things. Maybe they don't think it's good enough. Or maybe it really isn't good enough but they aren't taking the steps they need to take to grow their craft and MAKE it good enough. Or maybe they don't do it because they can't or don't want to do the things that would be required to go out and publicize the book if it were to be in print. There are probably other reasons, but these occur to me right off the top.

Probably the biggest one that I hear, however is fear of failure. I can identify with that. There have been times in my life that I haven't tried something because I was afraid I would fail. And if I did? What would have happened, someone would laugh at me? I might lose some money? When I thought it through, the downside was never that big.

But there's another way to look at it. Writing something and never submitting it IS failure. Submitting it and risking rejection is taking a chance on success.

Or maybe the writer HAS tried a couple of submissions and gotten turned down. There surely is rejection involved in submissions, but it isn't something to take personally. Our work either fits an available slot at a publisher or it doesn't. Not only is such a rejection not about us as a writer, it probably isn't even about how good the writing is, but rather about the fit to the market. I don't even call them rejections, I call them a 'negative market reports.'

At any given time our work may only match up with one opportunity in the whole publishing industry. The trick is to find that open window and get our work in it before it closes. Then our work may only fit one other place but now it's a different window that we have to find. I spend most of my time looking for open windows for my clients.

It is true we should not make a submission until our work is as good as we can make it and equally as true that we should continue to grow in our craft until we are a good fit for one of those open windows. But there comes a time when we have to stick our neck out and send our baby out into the world and try for publication.

That's what writing is all about, isn't it?


Sherri 847 said...

Well said Terry. I am sending this link out to our critique group.

Andrea Cox said...

Great wisdom. If all we did was stick our manuscripts in a drawer, they would never reach readers' hands. Thanks for sharing your insight, Terry.


Audrey said...

I love the way you say you are looking for open windows for your clients. I guess that is what a good agent does. But as you say, you can only search with what we are brave enough to submit to you. Thanks for sharing your pointed thoughts and words with us!

Paulette Harris said...

Thanks for writing this Terry. I thought I was the only one in the world who believes in what you said. I've told others over and over and they disagree vehemently. I always work hard on this and encourage others to do the same. :)

Sincerely in Jesus Christ,
Paulette L. Harris.