We were talking to Andrej last night (our foreign exchange student) about publishing last night after dinner and he made a comment that really stuck. We were talking about how competitive the market and being an author can be and he stated that it was really Darwinism. Ahh, Ha!
In many ways, I have been trying to stress this for sometime in other blogs but I do believe the idea of Publishing Darwinism really is the right concept. When it comes to being successful in this business, are you strong enough to survive? Do you have what it takes or are you going to head the way of the Dodo? Really, when you look at it, writers come and go all of the time, but the truly successful writers out there have what it takes to make it though the tough times and the endurance to keep going when things look like it is going to fall apart.
What we have to remember is that this game of publishing is more than simply good writing. There will be times (and hopefully rare occasions) when you do produce the worst piece of writing out there. For some reason it made it past your agent and editor and hits the shelf with a resounding FLOP. But the good writers are all ready with their next book and have learned from their mistakes instead of giving up or trudging on.
You have to be there mentally. Those successful writers have found ways to talk themselves over those barriers and to be ready to face the day when it is cloudy. These are the people that you see at conferences that really are dressed for success. You can see when they enter that elevator that they are ready for the game. In this case, you can see success. This is something I look for in a new writer when I meet them at a conference or talk to them on the phone after reading their manuscript proposal. Are they dripping success.
Along with this, you have to be a critical thinker. In this case, I am often reminded of Microsoft. I love this company. Not simply because they guide me on my writing each day, but because of the critical thinking attitude. When the Millennium hit, and the rest of the country was wondering what would happen to their computers when we hit 2000, Microsoft wasn’t flinching. Why? They had already planned ahead. When they produce products, they don’t ask people what they think but have the testers do everything they can to ruin the product and then fix the problems ahead of time. Good writers do the same thing. When their editor sends back some suggestions for their book, instead of freaking out, they often find the easiest and fastest solution, instead of having to re-write the whole thing. That is critical thinking.
I have often said this, and sometimes it is a downer. Writing is for everyone but no everyone is ready for publishing. This is a tough business and many writers out there will become another Dodo. Make sure it isn’t you!
Scott C. Eagan