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Newsletter Dated: 2/20/2003 5:07:47 PM
Subject: Advise for Young Writers
Today I receieved an email from a young writer, asking me for some advise on whether or not he/she should pursue a writing career. I wanted to share my answer with you:
Ah, to be 22 again and face this decision!!!!! I was 22 and very talented with writing myself. I wrote a lot of things and many articles, poems and etc that I sent in were published. I had the ability, but I lacked the self confidence.
Advice is not always to give. The best advice I can give you is from my position of being 53 years old, looking back. I can ask myself, "If I could go back what would I do differently?" When I ask myself that question the answer is always the same. I'd pursue my writing career at a much earlier age.
Writing, for most of us, is a very personal. In writing a novel, especially the first novel, we put a part of ourself into the book. Not just our efforts and our imagination, but parts of our personality and parts of our life. It may be fiction and still a part of our true self is very apparent.
I can only speak for myself . To me the first novel I wrote was very much like a child to me, if this makes sense. I put so much of me into the writing. I put so much time and energy into creating it. I worked on it each day, nursing it along, day by day, watching it grow and develope. When I'd hit a snag in the writing, I'd work through the problem, time and time again, as a mother would with a child. I have no idea other authors develope such a close relationship with a novel or not. I did. The book became a part of me and I found it very difficult to part with. In face, I put the novel away for years and kept it buried. I took the novel out at age 52 and read it again. The story was so intriguing and so good, I knew it was a winner. It needed to be rewritten and updated. I had many years of experience by now and had learned a lot about writing. I took the novel out, spent a couple weeks rewriting every chapter. I polihsed it up, edited it over and over until I felt it was ready to go out to the publishers. And again, I wanted to stop and not take the chance. I was so afraid of failure, of rejection that I came very close to burying Only a Game. My husband intervened this time and insisted I send the manuscript out. I was almost physically sick when I sent it out! It was at this point I realized that failure had been mine all these years because I was so afraid of failing that I was unwiling to take the chance on success! I had failed myself by subcoming to my fears without trying. This is something I try to warn every young person about. Deep within our psyche we often defeat ourself by failing to try.
Each of us living have stars passing over year. The star of opportunity comes and then quickly vanishes. Never be afraid to reach up and grab your star and go for a ride! You never know where that star will carry you. Those who find success early on are the ones who are NOT afraid to try! Those of us who achieve success in our later years are the ones who were a bit slower to realize that success is possible for anyone and everyone, but you have to be willing to work for that success and you have to be willing to take the chance!
If you are a naturally talented writer and your work is good, and I have no doubt it is, don't be in a hurry to pay someone out there to do the book for you! Once you go the route of the self published author it's hard to get the attention of the publishers that are out there who might be willing to pay you for those talents.
There are very FEW publishers willing to a chance on an unknown author. It's a catch 22 situation for most of us. We have the talent, we have the ability to see a novel through from beginning to end, and without a GOOD agent it's almost impossible to get your foot into the door of the big publishing houses.
Most will not accept unsolicted manuscripts today. Their doors are closed. They will only look at a manuscript presented to them through well known agents. From that alone you can see how tough the market is to break into.
I researched the market so many times I sometimes feel I can quote it! lol What I found, and this is just my opinion, is that for the new author, trying to break into the market, there is a new option, and I don't know if it would interest you or not.
I went with Publish America. There are others I'm sure. I call this the inbetween type of publisher. They require a finished manuscript. They are the most outstanding publishing company that is willing to take a chance on a new, unknown author. This type of company is different than the old time, big publishing companies, but many steps above the big time POD companies that abound on the internet.
If your manuscript is accepted by Publish America, they pay you. It's that simple. They offer a very good contract, fair and above board for the first time author. They offer a decent percentage on royalties both for the book sales and for book clubs and movie or TV opportunities. There are no HIDDEN costs for the author. You pay for your copyright. They pay the cost of publishing your book, they include a cover design for you or you may submit ideas of your own. They do some awesome covers by the way! They will send out flyers for you to 100 people that you include on a list for them. They do a lot of things for the author. When the book is done and ready for the market, they list it on the big Online Bookstores for you and take care of all that.
They also print your book as it is sold. There will not be any big warehouse full of books being shipped out to bookstores across the country, in hopes they will sell. This is called POD by some, but actually it's different through P/A . They do sometimes print up a quantity of books if need be. They have the capability of handling a novel however it needs to be handled. They are not strictly POD. They are simply incorporating new technology into how they publish their books.
I feel it is important for any new author to know that their work is good enough that a publishing company is willing to take a chance on them, willing to pay all the cost themself. If our work is good, we do not have to go with the pay for it yourself type publisher. There is no need for a good writer to make any financial obligation to get their book on the market!
Are there disadvantages to going with a company such as Publish America? Sure there are! Along with all the wonderful and exciting things, comes a few things that we need to think about as well.
There are not the BIG DOLLARS behind the company to be spent on advertising. They do advertise their new authors and promote them on their website. They also provide information to the book sellers for us. But there is no big promotion to back you up. You are going to do that yourself. Book signings, advertising, setting up your own webpage and so forth is going to be things you do for yourself.
Supplies for your book signings, bookmarks, handouts, posters, busness cards and so forth are going to be costs out of your pocket. I have found though that I can print up some very nice looking business cards on the computer and think it would fun to do the same with bookmarks as well. Putting out flyers will also be up to you and the cost will come out of your pocket as well.
With Publish America you can personally order however books you want for yourself. You get a nice big discount on these books and they can be used at book signings, fairs, or whatever. There are many ways to work these angles. Personally I look at this part of the 'business' as general business expenses. I think it's like any new business. If you try to get into it with no money to invest into the business then it may not fly. I feel that this is the one area we can afford to make an investment. The more we are willing to invest in advertising our book, the more books we sell. If one looks at this as a small business adventure, then success may be better in the long run.
Whatever you choose, ,which ever direction you choose to go with your writing career I wish you the best success that is possible!
Do not defeat yourself by being unwilling to try!
This article will be posted under 'articles' in my Authors Den website listed below. If you have any comments, please review at my website. I would really appreciate any ocmments you leave there.
Only a Game