Do you REALLY want to be published ?

Time sensitive announcements and any discussion that doesn't seem to fit anywhere else.

Moderators: Tituba, BarbaraSher

Do you REALLY want to be published ?

Postby Unity » Fri May 07, 2004 5:19 am

There are a lot of posts about people wanting to be published and I wanted to ask them if they really want that, or is it the THOUGHT of being a writer with a published book. The reason why I'm asking is that many years ago I spent a brief while as a writing editor/agent. What I discovered was that although I was never short of manuscripts to read, the exceptional writers that I encountered always found excuses not to follow through. The top excuse was that they were working on another piece of work and could I look at that? After reading the new story (again very good) they changed their minds again. One person started of with a short story, then sent in a novel, novella and a screenplay. He had every chance of becoming successful but just couldn't go through with it. The writers that were published were the ones that believed in themselves, did not take themselves too seriously and were not aggressive when they received advice. They were happy to try a different genre, for example I had a list of dozens of magazine editors and book publishers that asked for specific topics for upcoming publications. Many writers think that all you have to do is write a 1st draft and send it anywhere. Once they find out about editing, researching the right market etc, enthusiasm wanes remarkably fast. I've also been a would-be writer so I can speak from the other side of the fence. When I wrote purely for my own enjoyment everything flowed and I really liked what I did. As soon as I started writing with the intention of selling I had no end of problems and rarely found satisfaction in finding my name in print. So here is an opportunity to ask yourselves - Why do I want to be a writer?
Unity
Mega Poster
Mega Poster
 
Posts: 7816
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 11:01 pm

Postby ebrazley » Fri May 07, 2004 5:45 am

Urszula Yes, I really want to be a writer. I automatcially edit my own work until I feel it can stand no more revisions. I already know half of the work is writing and the other half is marketing the manuscript to the right publishers, agents, etc. My big problem is noone seems to even want to "look" at your manuscript (especially agents)unless you've already been on the top 10 list. I would be completely overjoyed if someone says we can publish your manuscript but you have to do these things before we can do it. Hard work is never a problem for me. "Getting someone to look at the manuscrpt is." I get so frustrated when I read a really horrible horrible manuscript, and know I could do much better but can't seem to get it read because of my lack of publishing experience. Having worked for a publisher I know the market is tight and getting tighter, so normally they want folks that have already been published. But I can't help but to think there are a lot of folks whose good manuscripts will never be looked at because (1) the publisher says you have to have an agent to even submit your work to them, or (2) the agent says they don't look at unpublished authors. And yes, I know there are a few out there that do, but there are so few, and a lot of times they don't work in the genre you write in. Actually this is probably a rant, but I get worked up sometimes about this issue. Maybe you can help me out -- How do you get a manuscript to an agent that will read it without you having the experienc of being published before? If you can answer that question, that would go a long way for me as far as lifting my spirits.
ebrazley
Veteran Poster
Veteran Poster
 
Posts: 437
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2002 10:01 pm

Postby twisterintexas » Fri May 07, 2004 7:42 am

Urszula (hope I spelled your name right!): you are SO correct in your observation. Many would-be writers flit back and forth and don't really look at the market as much as they should. To be a published writer, you've got to write what sells. It's also true that people should write for the enjoyment of it. Even if they are never published - or decide to self-publish, which is a viable alternative and one that many dedicated writers should consider - that they find happiness in writing is, often, the only thing that really matters. How can a writer find the topics that magazines and book editors want to cover? I would love to get into this type of endeavor. If you could point the way, I'd appreciate it.
User avatar
twisterintexas
Veteran Poster
Veteran Poster
 
Posts: 750
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 11:01 pm
Location: Texas

Postby Unity » Fri May 07, 2004 9:32 am

To ebrazley You don't need an agent. Just self belief. Here's an example. My dear old dad has never read a book about getting published. English is not his first language. Yet he's been published in lots of newspapers in UK and is now having a manuscript typed for his book which I am 100 percent certain will be published. The secret? Total confidence. It never occurs to him that it will NOT be published. He used to send in his handwritten notes and the editor re-wrote them. He had a story to tell which the editor knew would be appreciated by the readers. Dad isn't the sort of person that would read books on markets. In the past he just phoned the place he wanted to see his work in print. He's like that with everything he does - totally confident. Self-doubt kills positive outcomes. What you have written in your post makes me believe that you will make it. You want to learn, improve, listen. Now make a decision to believe THAT YOU WILL BE PUBLISHED. twisterintexas - I will see if I can find you some info next week. I transferred info from my website when I shut it down to the wordprocessor. If I still have those pages I will post them here. Urszula [This message has been edited by urszula thomas (edited May 07, 2004).]
Unity
Mega Poster
Mega Poster
 
Posts: 7816
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 11:01 pm

Postby Unity » Fri May 07, 2004 12:23 pm

Although I can't find my original pages as mentioned to twisterintexas, I have just found another link to current freelance writing topics. I have also posted this in the 'interesting finds' Editors are looking for YOU. http://www.freelancewriting.com/forumdir/fjb/
Unity
Mega Poster
Mega Poster
 
Posts: 7816
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 11:01 pm

Postby Sushi » Fri May 07, 2004 1:52 pm

Hi Urszula Thomas, Thanks for posting. I too, have noticed that there are many people who would like to write. I have the desire to write a book and have only gotten as far as writing a thirty chapter outline and a few partial chapters. I am not trying to be a professional writer. It is more for fun but it would be more fun if I got published. I think the thing that holds me back is not knowing how to go about all of this and not knowing what a publisher expects. There was a discussion of this on the Wishes and Obstacles forum. It can be found here. http://www.barbarasher.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/004013.html I have made a few comments in that string. My main question is/was. How well written does the first manuscript that I send to the publish have to be? You mentioned that your father sent hand written notes into the editor and the editor rewrote them. I have to say that I am surprised by that. Does this mean that the publisher is not looking for a perfectly written story but instead he is looking for an interesting story? I would appreciate any suggestoins/thoughts that you might have. Thanks again.
Sushi
Regular Poster
Regular Poster
 
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2003 10:01 pm

Postby GiniDee » Fri May 07, 2004 7:07 pm

Hey Urszula - Your story about your dad is a bit misleading in one respect. You're in Britain. The editors over there tend to give a LOT more leeway to the eccentric and time-consuming than they do here in the American market. Unless you're a CLOSE personal friend or relative of an editor s/he is NOT going to take time to correct a hand-written or poorly-written manuscript, no matter how interesting the story. Does not happen here. That's what slush piles and first readers are for. No stories like that would make it all the way to an editor here. I find there are two different types of writing in my life: Contract writing - that's where someone is going to pay you, you have a contract and a deadline and a clear idea of what needs to be written, with all specs in hand. Writing for fun - That's a whole different story. That's where the resistance monsters hit in my life. I have several novels, three children's books, a raft of poetry and many humorous short stories that have never seen the light of day. They were written and edited. My editorial friends have told me they're very good (with or without several small changes). And I have never been able to carry them through to publication. Every time I try to work back from the market on something besides contract work, I freeze. I write, but get no further. Or don't write at all after the first paragraph or two. I've had plenty of published work, so publication per se is NOT the problem. Maybe the personal writing is too close to my heart, so I can't put it out there. I don't know, but if I could, my published output would probably triple in a year. Just some notes from the tidepool Image
GiniDee
Mega Poster
Mega Poster
 
Posts: 4579
Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2003 10:01 pm

Postby docsue » Fri May 07, 2004 7:31 pm

My growing pile of rejection letters from editors and agents and I totally agree with Gini! I've been published in academic journals and have done chapters for books, but when it comes to getting my own books out there, it's a very long uphill battle that will probably end in self-publishing. Yes, it's true that some people don't follow through, but it's equally true that this is a very tight market. If you aren't writing about a hot topic or aren't already famous, your chances are pretty slim. And sometimes someone else gets there 5 minutes before you. And sometimes the publisher loves your idea and gets someone else to write the book. And that's after you've beaten down the resistance monsters that keep many people's best work from seeing the light of day. Gini - check your email for comment on tag line.
docsue
Veteran Poster
Veteran Poster
 
Posts: 653
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2003 10:01 pm

Postby Tituba » Sat May 08, 2004 12:37 am

I think I remember Barbara saying something about this in one of her books. I think she said alot of people tell her that they want to be a writer. What they really want is to be celebrated as a writer and do a book signing. The actual work of writing, editing, business end of it - different story.
Tituba
Mega Poster
Mega Poster
 
Posts: 9639
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2003 10:01 pm
Location: North Shore - Boston

Postby GiniDee » Sat May 08, 2004 1:19 am

Tituba - you and Barbara are both right. I used to be asked to sign magazines where mine was the cover feature. Not a book signing, but I got a big kick out of it nonetheless. Especially when it happened in other countries, or when I didn't at all expect it. Doc, I assume you mean my hermit crab address. Will check soon. Your points about timing and the tight market are well taken too. I enjoyed the writing and most of the editing for the books I wrote or ghostwrote. They were usually on topics I loved or wanted to learn more about, and that helps. It wasn't usually about the money. As I used to say to clients "My time is more valuable than your money." That's still true. Image
GiniDee
Mega Poster
Mega Poster
 
Posts: 4579
Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2003 10:01 pm

Postby Unity » Sat May 08, 2004 1:39 am

I don't live in the US so of course the way my dad became published might not work. However, I have seen adverts for US publications that say that handwriting is allowed. This was for hobby magazines e.g. dollshouse magazines. I don't know about novels but if someone had an exceptional story e.g. autobiography I wouldn't doubt that a publisher would find a way round this. When I started writing I read all the how-to books, took courses and would have never dreamed it possible to get published in the way dad was. Editors and publishers seem on a different planet. Through taking a risk, and phoning publishers I have found the opposite. These people are looking for interesting manuscripts because THEY NEED TO MAKE MONEY. It taught me that they just wanted to help. Two of them are still in contact. From all our conversations I know that anyone can be published - but self belief is the key. If you are worried about needing the be published before anyone will take you seriously why don't you try this:- Writing for the 'Letters to the Editor' section in newspapers/magazines Newsletters Local History articles or books Just this morning I went along to a history exhibition. Bought a book and recognised the author's photo. He was at the exhibit and asked him to sign. He recognised me and we got into a long chat. He said that there is always a shortage of people willing to write for local societies. I used to write for a charity and was a bit miffed to discover they never wrote my name as the author. I thought it was by accident but later discovered that they had such a shortage of writers they didn't want the readers to know I was the only one writing. Best of luck in your writing pursuits. Remembers 'he who dares, wins' Urszula [This message has been edited by urszula thomas (edited May 08, 2004).]
Unity
Mega Poster
Mega Poster
 
Posts: 7816
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 11:01 pm

Postby Scooterman » Sun May 09, 2004 2:16 pm

Wow - Urszula, thanks for posting this thread - there's so much food for thought here! I can easily picture your scenario of the writers who can't quite get it together happening. So many truly creative geniuses have these odd little (or not so lttle) hang-ups, and get beaten to the finish line by the less-creative but consistently forward-moving plodders. Your illustration of that gave me a lot of encouragement, even if it is different here in the states. I don't know, something about hearing that was really uplifting for me. Writers, maybe this is a way of being shown that there's a more reasonable market for us out there in Britain. How much is the USPS book rate to the U.K., anyway?
Scooterman
Experienced Poster
Experienced Poster
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2003 10:01 pm
Location: Washington, D.C., suburbs

Postby twisterintexas » Sun May 09, 2004 3:45 pm

Urszula: Your last message really hit home with me, because that's EXACTLY what I'm doing! I publish my own newsletter; write letters to the editor; and have published several articles on aspects of local history. The thing about wanting to write for a living is to think BIG and start SMALL. Like Barbara Sher mentions in "Live the Life You Love," imagine how your ideal life would be - and work backwards to get to a managable starting point. So, I want to write, preferably about Texas and Oklahoma history and geography. My "vorbilder" (idols) are A.C. Greene and T. Lindsay Baker, among other great history columnists. To be like them, I have to do small things to build up my reputation, and soon it'll come together! By the way, thank you for the link. Great thread!
User avatar
twisterintexas
Veteran Poster
Veteran Poster
 
Posts: 750
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 11:01 pm
Location: Texas

Postby songpoet » Sun May 09, 2004 4:21 pm

I guess this would be a good place to ask a question. What is the rules & "leeway" on quoting from written works of others in a published work you're selling? Do you "always" have to ask permission to use a saying or a few lines? I would think that's a sloooooooooooow process?? Also for writers like Emerson & Thoreau are they considered "PUBLIC DOMAIN" or has some ambitious "contemporary" claimed current ownership??? As far as my writing,,,,,,,I think I'd rather bypass the standard avenues & market my own stuff myself. In todays narrow-minded marketplace,,,,,,,it's a similar feeling to filling out applications for a menial job. Songwriting is the one area I might defer a little to the hierarchies. But after awhile even that becomes tiresome. Image
songpoet
Veteran Poster
Veteran Poster
 
Posts: 634
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2003 11:01 pm

Postby Unity » Mon May 10, 2004 2:51 am

songpoet - here's some info about your question. http://www.ehow.com/ehow/ehowDetails.jsp?index=1011&id=18035
Unity
Mega Poster
Mega Poster
 
Posts: 7816
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 11:01 pm

Next

Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests