Wednesday, May 27, 2009


There seem to be lots of traps out there for aspiring authors. I'm falling into them with alarming frequency. I will enumerate them to the best of my ability here.

Trap #1: Researching the publishing industry turns into a monster time suck because of all the great blogs. These are writers, agents, and publishers. They are literary. They can turn a phrase pretty damn well. And they're often funny, which is like catnip for me.

Trap #2: Reading all these blogs with advice for aspiring authors makes the whole thing seem hopeless. Lists of reasons queries get rejected, manuscripts get rejected, common mistakes new authors make, how important it is to polish your MS but DON'T LOSE YOUR VOICE! So it has to be highly standardized so it won't stand out but it had better stand out. This sends me combing through the MS in a panic looking for all the things they say you can't do if you want to get published. I would rather go through sorority rush at Ole Miss with a great big zit and fake leather shoes than query.

"Do I have too many dialogue tags?" she said, worry clouding her expression.

Trap #3: I've read published books that sell well that I don't think are as good as my book.

Of course I have. I made up my book. I got to put in all the stuff I like and leave out the stuff I hate. If I can't develop my own fantasy world to my liking then I have a real problem. It's like having imaginary friends who won't play with you.

Trap #4: All the people that post on blogs sound really serious about what they're writing. Maybe they are way better than me. But the really serious ones hate the books that sell well. (Except Stephen King. He seems to be the only best seller who is sacred to aspiring authors. They will eviscerate anyone else. I hope people one day hate me as much as they hate Stephenie Meyer. If people hate me that much then I can buy an island or something.)

Trap #5: I might as well give up now because I live smack in the middle of nowhere and have two small kids. Writer's conferences are not an option. I don't have a website for my book (and won't in the near future), have no idea how to go about creating a book trailer (I know. A trailer for a book. Who knew?), I'm not a viral internet marketing buzz genius, and I have no desire to Tweet. I'll never make it.

Trap #6: Walk around in circles worrying about Traps 1-5 while I should be editing my manuscript.

I guess the thing that has me the most freaked out is the element of luck in the industry. I am the unluckiest person you will ever meet. I don't gamble because I know with absolute certainty that I just gave the dealer five dollars. I won't win it back. I am Murphy's Law incarnate. It seems so futile to send out queries when I know that luck plays a part.

On the other hand, maybe I'm way overdue for some good luck.

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