Thursday, January 21, 2010

Don't Be Too Hasty - A Word of Warning for 1st time Authors

I am working on a post for another writing group and one of the questions they were asking got me thinking about first time authors. Unfortunately, I believe there are too many first time authors, that in the excitement of writing "THE END" on that last page of the manuscript, rush too quickly to get that book to print. They rush to editors. They rush to agents. And, unfortunately, many make huge mistakes by taking their writing in directions they really don't want to go. These mistakes, while probably not detrimental in the long run to their writing career, can certainly put a huge damper on things. Let's talk about a few of those mistakes...

PUBLISHING WITH SOMEONE THAT ISN'T A PERFECT MATCH - I thought about how to word this a lot and I think "less than perfect match" is the best approach. There are a lot of publishers out there that will publish pretty much anything. Not that they are scams, but the cost of publishing new authors, due to what ever process they have, is fairly cheap. Still, the work did get out there and now the author is stuck. Contracts have mucked the water. Maybe they find they have no outlet for selling the books? Maybe you are now caught in the crossfire between a writing organization and a publisher and can't participate in things you want to do. But you got published, right?

The problem is simple. That book is pretty much gone. Many publishers, once they hear you have taken the book to one of these publishers will simply not want it. Their assumption is you have tried all of the bigger places and finally settled with this other place. Also, even though you may "have all of the rights" there are still other legal hoops that have to be gone through. I don't want to focus on those right now. Just to remind people to THINK!

"I got the call!" I see this all of the time on he writing loops out there and you know, it still is exciting to hear a writer say that. Getting that call from an agent is really exciting. I personally love making the call. So, with that said, I don't want to diminish that emotional ride. But... (ah, here comes that infamous "but")... many writers have not done their homework.

That relationship you have with an agent is a very personal one. You need to know you can trust them, and, at the same time, know this is the right match. New writers will sign with agents that are far from trustworthy. They are money pits. They approach business in a direction you aren't ready for.

Now, what does this do to your career? Again, probably not a whole lot. The damage, however, comes to you personally. You are now left with a real bitter experience and the joy you felt with writing goes away. There have been a lot of writers out there who gave up simply because of one bad experience.

Look, the deal is this. If you want to write - then do it. If you want to publish your work, then please take your time. Making, what I call, a stupid mistake, early on in your career may not ruin the writing that comes later, but it may ruin your attitude and approach to writing.

I recently read a blog of a gentleman out on the internet who apparently was "burned". Oh, he's writing. He has his website, he has his stories, but the only publishing I see going on is what he puts on his website. Now, his energy is spent, not necessarily writing "quality fiction" but in an effort to scan the web, find agents and editors that say things that he doesn't agree with and then try to portray these people in a bad light. To writers like this, I simply have to say, "You may have had a bad experience with an agent in the past, but that doesn't make all agents bad. Think back to what brought you to writing in the first place. Remember the excitement of sitting down and creating wonderful stories? Find it again and try again."

Now, as for me? I am off on another busy day!


1 comment:

  1. seriously. Very insightful for the first time author!