Monday, September 12, 2011

So Get Yourself Published Then

When people learn I've had a book published, they often tell me of the book in their head. Some of those ideas are really good, others - not so marketable.

What has surprised me since getting my book published, is the attitude of some unpublished writers. Not sure if it's just professional jealousy because they're not yet published, sensitivity because they're in the middle of the rejection journey (where everyone has been) or just simply that they think their stuff is better than mine and why should I be the one to get published? And yes, there are a lot of really good writers out there who haven't yet managed to secure a publishing deal, just as there are quite a few published writers that make you wonder how they did it.

And then there's the "I could've done that" category of critics. The ones who tell you about the book in their head, then tell you how lucky you are to have scored a publishing deal. Lucky? It had nothing to do with luck, and everything to do with writing it all down and then working like a maniac to find an agent, who in turn worked hard to get the right publishing contract. Everyone has a book in their head, and some of them could be really, really good - if only they could make it from the head to the keyboard.

Oh, and then there's this type of person - who basically didn't write a book and is now claiming compensation from someone who did. Fortunately the judge threw the case out, not because it has no merit but because the case has timed out under the statute of limitations.

I mean, how lazy can you get?

Or am I just being mean?


  1. As one of those in the never been published but oh so want to be, camp, I don't think you're being churlish. It is all about working hard, and being resilient. I've observed that not many people get back up from the knocks and keep going. You did, and you got published and that is very cool indeed.

  2. I sure know what you mean. I've sold a number of romance novels and I can't count the people who've told me they could really just crank one out as well if only they'd have a little time to do it.

    Or the ones who think I was just lucky. Or the ones who tell me they have a great story for me ...

  3. Thanks Vix. It really is about letting go of the fear. Fear of rejection (which is huge), fear of people not liking your work, fear of the workload itself, which is also huge. I still hate to read a review of my book even though 99% of them have been great.
    Miss F - I know. I always try to tell people that first off, you just have to sit down and write. Don't worry about it not being good enough, not being able to get an agent etc. You can't do any of that until there's something down on paper.
    And yes, the number of people who have wanted to collaborate...Fortunately most of them never took it further than an initial suggestion.

  4. Apart from the odd poem and some factual articles online, I've not had anything published. Although, I have written plenty and hung out with enough published writers to know that it can be very difficult, much more challenging than many people realise. Novels can be particularly difficult, as there is so much that needs to be got right.

    It is kind of irritating when someone who hasn't even read a book for 20 years, tells you that they could be a published writer if they put their mind to it - if you don't read, how can you write?!?! The bottom line is that publishing is a business and they want to sell the book to make profit and most people haven't got the willpower, talent, and technical skill to go through the process of producing something so good that people will want to go out and buy it. Even if you are writing an academic book with a ready-made market, it is still a hell of a lot of work.

    Of course, once a book is published, there is then the problem of getting people to buy it. The majority of newly published books just sit on shelves for a few months and then get pulped, sadly. I spent many years as a librarian ripping up books that people didn't want to read. :-(

  5. Oh my Goodness.... didn't know that there were so many catty people out there.
    I say good on you for getting a book published. You put in all the hard work and effort. Maybe some of us are not so motivated or have the ideas but not the time. Nobodies fault but our own.
    Jealousy is a horrible green eyed monster.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  6. I should be very jealous, but I know how much luck, as well as talent and hard work is involved in getting an agent and a publishing deal. And then you have to take part in marketing the copies of the book.

    Working in an independent book shop has opened my eyes to how many books are sent back, what sells and what doesn't (often not the critically acclaimed books). And then there's the Kindle...(I too have one!)

    After an MA in creative writing plus several other courses, three full manuscripts, a couple of agent nearly taking me on (resulting in extensive re-writes), I really cannot understand why I still carry on writing and looking for a publishing deal.

    I am mad, not sad, or lazy .

    Helena xx

  7. HH - If you have had three agents nearly taking you on, that should be positive feedback. I always say that if someone's interested enough to ask for more (as you have experienced) someone else will be more interested. Keep writing, and no - you're not mad. Or we're all mad. Can't decide which!

  8. You know I have to comment on The Help having read it last year. I have to say my sympathy actually lies with the maid, if what is in that article is true (and this is the DM after all) then I'd say she HAD an excellent claim, the similarities are way too close to be accidental. Plus she was only going for 50,000 to make the point that just to have been asked would have been nice.

  9. Hmmm. we may have to agree to disagree Sarah. Yes, the author should have changed names, or asked permission, but at the end of the day she was the one who got off her backside and wrote something. It's not like the maid had ever had any intentions of writing a book. It'll be interesting to see if anything develops.

  10. Congrats, Sarah - from a fellow expat and fellow writer! Hooe your book does brilliantly.
    I'd be happy to review it on my blog if you want to send me a copy (I get about 1,000 page hits per month). I'd also love for you to take a look at mine - but now it sounds like I've come begging, when I actually just stopped by to say well done!

  11. I havn't read this yet, so don't know if there is an introduction acknowledging the source of her material. I believe it is churlish to the extreme to knowlingly borrow an identity with no credit. That said, shit happens. Get over it. I understand it's a mighty fine work and I look forward to reading it.

  12. I know people can behave in all sorts of crappy ways but to be so rude to your face? Anyway, the first thing keeping me from getting published is lack of backside on seat, so I admire you for getting well beyond that stage.

    Regarding that story, it reminds me of the recent story about The Hurt Locker.

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  14. I'm with Brit Gal & Joanne as my sympathies do lie with the maid. I don't think, from what I've read, she was claiming she cd have written that stuff or even wanted to, BUT that her identity had been stolen, her life had been written abt without permission (look at her protective people are of what they have written on their blogs & all their copyright messages) She was only claiming $75k, not a vast greedy sum for someone who has worked (hard) all her life & probably been walked over a lot too. This is just another example of that. I don't know how educated or self confident she was, bu tI imagine it never occurred to her that her life was worth writing about. Good for the author that she did, but I think she could have told the maid or at least asked permission etc.
    So yes, I guess we'll have to agree to differ. I odn't think someone who has brought up 18 or 19 kids over the yrs & worked as a maid which (having seen many in the developing countries I've lived & worked in), is a hard & often thankless job, with long hours of drudgery.

  15. ...can fairly be described as lazy" Is what was supposed to be on the end of that!

    Apart from that though, I totally agree, writing, getting published etc is abt a lot of hard graft. You are obv v driven, v motivated & v strong to deal with rejection on that rd to success. well done you!

  16. You're not being mean. It is laziness pure and simple. Now with Amazon and Kindle anyone can get published.

  17. Tee-hee. I think you did great to be published, and anyone who gives you a hard time must be very insecure.


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