I thought I might become a star shining brightly in the heavens but today I crashed back to earth hurting the one person I never wanted to – myself.
I spent yesterday reading a book called, The Writers Guide to Everything Important: The Omnibus by Michael Allen. It was an eye opener both in terms of learning to write better but also in understanding the publishing world, agents, contracts and more. I’m feeling a bit shell shocked.
I’ve done some research today and learned that it is highly unlikely that most authors will be able to make a living writing books. Those who can are rare. If I could describe my one true dream job, it would be to write books for a living but unless one of my manuscripts hits it big, that dream will likely never become a reality. And, even if it did hit big, it would be unlikely to provide an income sufficient to last for the remainder of my life. With so many hands in the pot – agent, publisher, and on and on, the amount of money to be made can be negligible.
The publishing world is in flux right now as more authors choose to follow non-traditional routes to publishing. Self-publishing via Kindle or other ebook sites is becoming a viable way to make a little money and get your book in front of the public. There are even stories of authors who chose to follow this route and became well-known and well-sold and even those who found agents and ended up going the traditional route with future books. There are just as many stories of authors who went the traditional route first then decided to walk away and self-publish.
(Note: Found an interesting article on this.)
I highly recommend you do your research. Don’t go into this business wide-eyed and innocent. There is so much information on the web about this world. Educate yourself. Websites like: Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America’s Writer Beware or Preditors & Editors. Find a good intellectual property attorney to review any and all contracts. Don’t sign without being aware that most contracts will be in favor of the agent or publisher. Even those who are supposed to look out for your best interests will have their own self-interest in the mix.
I am grateful for writers like Michael Allen and others who write about writing and publishing. Through their experiences, I am hopeful I can avoid most of the pitfalls. I still want to go the traditional publishing route at least once and see what comes of it. Despite everything I’ve read, it still appeals to me. However, I am also educating myself on self-publishing. The learning curve feels amazingly insurmountable at this point but I am focusing on moving forward even if just one tiny step at a time.
Another book I want to recommend is The Emotion Thesaurus. It helps you to identify the physical reaction to emotions. One of Michael Allen’s books talks about emotions and how we as writers need to show the physical reaction not just state the emotion our characters are feeling. Maybe this is not something new to most of you but I struggle sometimes to define the exact physical reaction to certain more subtle emotions.
Today I’m continuing with reading Manuscript Makeover (Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore). So far, the first two chapters have been very enlightening.
After spending the day reading, I found myself unwilling to face the silence and voices in my head ready to pounce. The dichotomy of my ideal and reality and my mind preparing to battle. I stayed up until 6:30 am. this morning watching stupid stuff on Hulu in an effort to avoid the mental confrontation. Once I was finally ready to face the silence and my mind, I found the critical voices subdued.
No matter how hard it is, no matter how much I need to learn or how hard I have to work, I still really want to write. I still really want to be a published author. B