Persistence

In the post editing euphoria, things have calmed down around here somewhat. Not necessarily a relaxing calm, but more like the waiting-for-the-tornado-to-touch-down-on-top-of-your-living-room kind of calm. It’s peaceful.

I’ve sent the manuscript to several agents, and in the 4-6 week turn around time there’s been a lot of nail biting and sitting on the edge of my chair—when I’m not actively pacing the den wearing grooves in the fluffy brown carpeting.

and a left hook, and a right hook, and publish my book god dammit
and a left hook, and a right hook, and publish my book god dammit

But persistence is key, and I know I’ve got a good story here. I was recently reading about all the hubbub surrounding Robert Galbraith and J.K. Rowling. It’s pretty interesting, and has several important lessons involved with it. The biggest lesson I took away from it is that publishers don’t know jack diddly about good content. It’s all a business enterprise to them, and relativity reigns supreme.

I mean, I can’t blame them. Big bucks are on the line, they want to back a winning horse. But this isn’t a science, and there are ways to know whether what you’re reading is good or not. Consensus helps, but there’s a gut feeling when you’re reading something that’s well written. It’s like reading the first page of The Sun Also Rises, and then the first page of Twilight. There’s just something there, it grabs you, picks you up, and won’t put you down.

Of course, that might not be the best analogy. I think if we polled the audience, 100% of them have heard of Twilight, and maybe 1% have ever heard of The Sun Also Rises, let alone read it. So maybe the meat grinder needs volume, not quality. How much is originality really worth? Would Lord of the Rings sell today?

I dunno. I think it comes down to a numbers game, and persistence is key. Grab the bone and run with it and don’t stop till you cross the finish line. Is that too many metaphors?

So I’m applying around for editing positions, and hoping that I can land something to pay the bills while this whole author business takes off. It’s definitely a trying experience, finding ways to prove your worth to people who don’t really care. But like all things, it will pay off in the end, and me and Robert Galbraith can share a laugh or two over some butterbeer.

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4 thoughts on “Persistence

  1. The problem with traditional publishers is that they insist on formulaic writing. I think the general population tires of it after a while, and that’s where Indie authors, good ones, have headway. Problem is the establishment, like major newspapers for reviews, wants only work that has been published by a “major” publisher before they will “consider” reviewing. I know they have to weed the lawn, but it seems there should be some way to establish merit without that traditional measuring stick.

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    1. oh man, so do I! What a crazy world it would be if it just turned out well right away =) Thank very much though. I feel it’s probably inevitable I’ll go the e-publishing route, but here’s hoping anyways.

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