Friday, April 30, 2010

Demand Excellence, Don't Just Hope For It!

Excellence is not a sometime thing! This is what my son and daughter's coach is always telling them. This is so true. But, I think there is an element that we ar emissing with this one. Excellence, while we see it grammatically as a state of being really is something that requires action. When I say DEMAND excellence, I say it meaning that an individual needs to be proactive about it. Excellence is not something that just happens, it is something someone has to go in search of.

When I think about writing, I see the successful authors, agents and publishers demanding excellence. I blogged about this before, but these select people don't just accept that mediocrity. They push for something better. Unfortunately, there are far too many people out there in publishing that are "just settling."

I have often been told that I have expectations in many things I do that are unachieveable. I don't think so. I honestly believe that people who say this are people that are "just settling" and aren't up to the challenges it takes to make it to that level of excellence. Now don't get me wrong. I am not talking about working toward dreams that are unattainable. I am talking about goals that are achievable here.

As an agent, I could take one of two approaches when it comes to acquisitions. I could take on authors that "might" have some hope, and go for the quantity aspect of things. In other words, have 100+ clients and hope that something happens to one of them. The second approach is to find the best, knowing the numbers will be smaller. For me, I'm taking this stance. I am not throwing darts at publishers and I want those editors to know that if it comes from me, it is good. I don't want editors to sign on my writers simply because I am pushy, or "big". I don't want them to think, "wow, if I don't sign this person, they might move one of their other authors." Nope, it aint' going to happen with me.

I think too that editors should also take that same approach. We may make statements about demanding excellence, but in the publishing industry, there is not such thing as tenure. Just because you have been there doesn not give you the right or privledge to produce less than standard writing. There are editors that I work with that have no problem letting an author go when the writing isn't quite there. These editors don't take a "you have one shot and that's it" attititude. They understand the business is picky. But, if the work continues to be less than adequate, they cut them loose. This is what we need.

Writers too need to be pushing for much more. If you get a bad review, what are you going to do about it? If you get a critique back, what are you going to do about it? Successful writers that DEMAND excellence will go out and determine what is wrong and fix it. The majority of writers out there, unfortunately, make excuses.

No more of this garbage people. It is time to take action!

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