There are some wonderful blogs out there. I can't keep up with all of them, but I'm trying. The information they provide is mind-boggling. I keep thinking if only I'd had the Net when I was in high school and college and university. Maybe I would have achieved more. Maybe today I'd have six books published instead of one.
It wasn't that long ago that I equated my self-worth to publishing. If you're in the profession, whether it's writing, teaching or reading, you've probably heard one or many ambition writers say "If only I was published." Or "I'm not a writer until someone pays me." Or "I dream about the day I can hold my book in my hands; everything will change. Then, people will respect what it is I do."
That's all true. Yes, publishing changes the way old friends and new friends treat you. There's exceptions, but on the whole people that generally wouldn't notice you, suddenly do. You can see the admiration in their eyes. You wrote a book and now you're one notch higher in their book.
Dreaming about getting published is like dreaming all your life about being 115 pounds instead of 215 pounds. One day, you luck out, fate intervenes, and voila your dream comes true.
It takes work, lots and lots of hard work. There is no magic pill. You work hard, you exercise and one day you look in the mirror and see the body you've always dreamed of. Or you hold the book you slaved over for ten years.
If you've ever lost fifty pounds or more, you know what I'm talking about. If you've recently published and now you're marketing, you get where I'm coming from. And you don't need me telling you that the new body or the new book won't change what's inside. That's a whole different equation.
Don't stop doing whatever it takes. If your goal is to get published, use the astronomical amount of information available to make your dream come true. Learn your craft. Revise, edit and rewrite until you're positive your manuscript is as good as it will ever be. Build a query package that is equal to none. Build your readership. Learn how to blog. Send out submissions. Start networking. Write the perfect blurb, synopsis and cover letter. Keep writing. Prepare yourself for that moment when somebody says, "Yes, we want your book."
Sometimes I wonder what I was thinking. Being published is not the be all and end all. It's just the beginning of a whole new set of job descriptions. And that probably sounds as if being published is a letdown. Something that never quite measures up to what you thought it would be. All those changes you expected are replaced with demands that you can't imagine fulfilling. You, the storyteller, the one who would rather sit at the computer hour after hour, day after day, composing what you hope is the great novel, are now required to sell yourself on a nonstop tour of duty.
They call it marketing. I'm in the middle of it right now. It is daunting. I do wonder what the heck I was thinking. But during those moments when I actually do sit down and write, I feel more alive than I have ever felt. Writing is who I am. The storyteller, the writer destined to doubt, question, worry, fret and keep writing.