Tag Archive | Being a writer

The Truth About Publishing

I’ve talked to a lot of people lately- at craft shows, book signings, and online- and when I meet a fellow writer, I hear the same sentence over and over again:

“I love to write, but I’m afraid to publish.”

After listening to their experiences, I’ve come to learn that it’s not so much the process of publishing that scares them (they don’t mind the writing, editing, or marketing), it’s the thought of having their work out there.  In the public.  On the web.  Out and about where everyone in the world can now see.

Take it from someone who was once a non-published author before: putting your work out there is a scary task!

Because when you publish, you open yourself to critique, or better yet, troll-infused criticism.  You risk the possibility that your dream of living off of your book’s royalties may not come to pass.  You just might have to come to terms with the fact that even though your work is brilliant and great, there is a chance that it’ll get lost in the endless supply of books being published daily online, and only a select few will ever come to appreciate it.

Those are fears that are a reality to a lot of published authors, and it’s a reality that many people will never understand.

So I’ll be honest- publishing is scary.  The risk is high, the rewards are sometimes scanty, and even if you do have good sales the first time around, they aren’t guaranteed to last.

But I’d be lying if I said publishing still isn’t worth it.

Because the truth is, despite the trolls, despite the roller-coaster sales, despite the risk that your books may only ever be read by a few people on Goodreads who somehow found you, publishing is still worth it.  Amidst the trolls, there’s readers who will read your book and love it.  Despite the low sales and having to still work that nine to five job, you can say (unlike many others), that you’ve got to live your dream.  And even if your story gets lost in the shuffle, it’s still in that pile, and even if people don’t read it today, there’s always the chance that after a time of digging, they’ll read it tomorrow.

None of us know what the future holds.  It may be bad, it may be bland.  But there’s also a chance it can be good.  But unless we take that first step into the unknown and actually try, we’ll never know.

So if you’re unsure of whether to publish or not, I’ll tell you what I tell the other writers I talk to:

If you want to publish, then publish.  If you don’t, don’t.  Only you can make the decision on what to do with your writing, and you’re the one who knows best.  But if you’re still unsure, don’t let worry or fear get the best of you.  You’re a writer.  Whether you’ve got a book for sale on Kindle or a dusty old journal on your nightstand, you’re a writer.  And no matter what, as long as those words are on paper (or in digital space), you’ve already accomplished what most people could only dream of.

And that, my friend, is something to be proud of.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

I woke up around 5 this morning. Not happily, mind you, especially since it’s a Saturday (who wants to wake up that early on a Saturday?!), but even though my body was still in sleep mode, my mind decided to be my alarm clock and say, “Hey! Let’s write!”

If you’re into stories (and writing them), you probably know what I mean. You get this idea, this picture, in your head. And then you get to thinking about it. You add a few characters, add some nice scenery. Add a plot point and some dialogue. Pretty soon you have your own mini movie going on in your head, repeating itself over and over. And if you’re a writer, and you get that idea in your head, you can’t help but want to write it down.

Even if it’s at a time when most people are still asleep.

I won’t lie that I groggily got up and yanked my laptop open a little too hard, but once I got some caffeine into my system (thank you, chocolate) and put my fingers to the keyboard, my lack of sleep became an after thought. That idea that replayed itself in imagination suddenly found itself on a screen. Suddenly, ideas became words.

A story was born.

I think it’s moments like these that you know you are a writer. At least it’s one of the ways you know, I suppose. Whatever grips your mind grips your heart, and for me, thinking of a story at 5 in the morning and figuring it out for so long that I can’t rest until I write it down is my proof that I’m a writer. No, I’m not published yet. I’m certainly making no money off of what I write (darn it). But it’s what I love, and even if I can’t make a living off of it, I’ll still be writing with a smile on my face.

It reminds me of that scene in Sister Act 2, when Whoopi Goldberg was talking to Lauryn Hill about being a singer. She used the analogy of being a writer-i.e., if you wake up and all you can think about it writing, then you’re a writer. I think that analogy can go with us in whatever we do. If you wake up and think about playing music, then you’re a musician. If you wake up and think about running your business, then you’re a businessman/businesswoman. If you wake up and think you’re a millionaire, then you’re a millionaire (okay, maybe it doesn’t work for everything, but it would be nice if we could think something up and then POOF! It happens.)

Regardless, being a writer-whether published and making money or just scribbling in a journal-is a wonderful thing to be.

Even at 5 in the morning.