I am working with two groups now, outside of publishing, that are in some dire economic situations. In both cases, a potential collapse is indeed in the cards. So, both groups are attempting some big changes in the hopes to keep things alive. Essentially, they are thowing a "Hail Mary Pass" (for those of you into football) and keeping their fingers crossed. But here is the problem with both groups. Completing the pass is one thing. Remaining standing after the ball is caught is the bigger issue. In both cases, although the initial plans are accurate and the intentions are good, the question remains if each of these groups have the resources to really be successful in the long run. Honestly, it could mean that all involved are spinning their wheels for nothing. These people might be fixing something that is already broken. Essentially, they are keeping these groups "alive" on life support only.
Now what does this have to do with publishing? The answer is simple.
- Just because you have a manuscript that is finished...
- Just because there is a professional hearing pitches at a conference...
- Just because you have the chance to pitch...
- and, Just because you might get a request for more material.
DOES NOT mean you are ready to move on.
Writing professionally is more than simply having a book. This is hard work. Writing professionally now means there is more to a project than simply the fun you had creating those characters and writing. You've seen the list before: marketing, revision letters, deadlines, proposals, conferences, publicity... I hate to break this to you, but now, the writing will have to share your time.
Do you even have the time to do all of this. For many of you out there, the writing you do has to be shared with jobs, family life, social commitments, health and yes, even pets. Do you have the 100% support of all of these other activites? Are you willing to give up some of these things to accomplish what you want to do? Essentially, you are now picking up a second job. No, forget the essentially - You Are!
But there is also a mental game here that you have to be ready for. You are now a public figure and that means that instead of simply sitting behind your computer and writing, you now have to get out there and talk to people. Booksignings, public appearances, interactive internet presence, conference talks and workshops, and even the simple being accessible to people at conferences is a requirement now.
Are you also ready for the mental demands to produce a project out of the blue? Your editor calls and asks you to do a project for her? You have a month to do it. Get to work! This means making adjustments and yes, potentially working on two projects at the same time. Your editor is doing all she can to keep your name out there. That means you have to produce.
I won't even get into all of the issues with bad reviews or sales, but it will be a factor.
As much as I find projects out there that have potential, too often I also find writers attached to those projects that mentally don't have what it takes to get the story done. These writers will end up failing, but in the end, will not blame their lack of readiness, but all of the outside factors.
"You know, I could have written well, but, my agent just didn't sell my work." - They fail to mention there was only one project.
"You know, my first book was really good, but my editor didn't want to wait three years between projects." Hmmm, I wonder why?
I am stressing this one again. If you are coming to Orlando and have an appointment, make sure you are really ready! Please! I don't care if you are Golden Heart or RITA finalist. I don't care if you are PRO or PAN. If you aren't ready to make this a career, then you are not ready to pitch!