Monday, March 14, 2011

Across the great divide...

If I start talking gibberish you will realise I have gone over the edge. Yesterday I thought I had reached breaking point - computery things weren't working and despite all the hours in the day I achieved very little and picked up some extra duties. Big ups to my SO who stepped in and found the solution to my computer woes and who turned the pdf of my latest book in to a power point presentation. You rock honey. I never forget all the good reasons I married you, but its even better when you add a few more good reasons. I am one lucky gal.

As I trolled through the usual bloggy suspects this morning I came across an interesting post on publishing industry myths over at Rachelle Gardner's blog. There wasn't anything in the post I didn't already know. If you hang around the internet long enough you get to recognize the myths and appreciate the realities. The myths that struck a chord with me today are that once you are published you can say goodbye to rejection and conventional forms of submitting your work. I am happy to confess that before I was published I believed this myth too. Why wouldn't you? Its all a mystery on the other side until you get there - a bit like parenthood and international travel. So today I am going to say what is different for me now that I have crossed the great divide. This may not apply to other published folk, everyone's experience is a little different, but it may be of interest.

I still write query letters, synopses and, usually, finish the manuscript before I submit. I still get rejections, sometimes form rejections. I still follow submission guidelines. I enquire, I post by snail mail if that is what is required, I don't meet with editors over coffee and chat about ideas. Truthfully, being published helps. Ok some editors do know me now so I stress less about getting in touch with them but I went through that initial scary awkward phase to get to that point and I still follow the rules with them that I've always followed. And each project is examined on its own merits. I wait on tenterhooks like every other author and 99.9% of the time I don't get to hear back sooner than anyone else. I get nervous and anxious.

Some publishers will take unsolicited submissions from published authors - that is handy. I am still learning about this business. I am still trying to figure out the best path for my career and then trying to figure out how best to get on that path. I am better at spotting opportunities and possibly feel more confident at taking them. I've also learned it pays to be prepared so that any opportunites that come up can be seized with both hands. But all of this is partly the result of hanging around this industry for so long and trying to learn as much as I can about it over the years. I've learned the value of persistence and of luck. And I take advantage of all the information out there on the internet, and from writers groups and organisations and friends. There are no special 'ins' or 'handshakes' or anything. Its up to you.

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