Traditional publication can be backbreaking and heartbreaking at the same time. I haven’t spoken much about what traditional publication is like on this blog because so much of my audience is self-published authors, and it didn’t really come up.
Recently though, I wrote and published an article at this wonderful site: Women Writers, Women’s Books, and have decided to share it with you all. The introduction to the article is in the picture above, so I’ll dive right in to the tips to survive a life in traditional publication.
1. Do not equate publication history with talent. Quality is key, but so is timing. Writing is art; publishing, a business. Some of my very talented friends are in the querying trenches. With the right editor and agent at the right time, they’re likely to fly high.
People with agents and book deals seem to develop a halo in the eyes of those in the slush pile, but in the current publishing climate, the truth is that authors who have successfully published a few books or are agented can find themselves back in the query trenches. Publishers and agents are focused on the business aspect. Changing or losing them is part of the process.
2. Write for yourself, because writing to market can turn into a huge burden. I say this even as an author who has recently written a sequel on contract. The Blue Bar was supposed to be a standalone, and I sold a series. I’ve just rewritten The Blue Monsoon the third time, and must read it at least four more times. Multiple readings and edits on a story that I can get behind is easier than one that I can’t. When in the querying trenches, it might feel tempting to write as per agent wish-lists, but trends pass and a story written with passion might stand a better chance than one written per rote.
3. Write in the face of rejection. Each rejection is one less door to knock. This can be a long hard road, whether in the querying trenches, on submission, or when submitting proposals to your editor. The sad thing is, unless you hit the very top tier of awards or bestsellerdom, rejections never really go away. Someone is bound to say no to you. And if no one does, readers will, which brings me to the next point.
Do you care if a book is the product of self-publishing or traditional publication? Do you know of life behind the scenes in traditional publication?
My crime novel, The Blue Bar is out this year with Thomas & Mercer. Add it to Goodreads or order it to make my day.
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