Friday, May 14, 2010

You May Be Published, But That Doesn't Mean You're Perfect

Hey all,

I am writing this now from Sea-Tac airport waiting for my flight to Wisconsin. Will hopefully get some post in this weekend to let you know how things went.

Now to the post...

Writers starting their careers know the hard work that it takes to get published. They understand the tears and the pain that goes into that manuscript. But I honestly believe that something happens when authors move from that unpublished stage to the published stage. After that first book, and with each book that follows, I see more and more published authors changing their perception of writing and publishing. Instead of remembering all the hard work it took to get that first book written, these authors are starting to view the publishing world in a very different manner.

What I am seeing is a recklessness and a carelessness in terms of the business of writing. I am also seeing an almost feeling of superiority (yes I know that is a harsh word but it is early in the morning). For some reason, once an author reaches a particular point, an it does change from one author to the next, there is this feeling that short cuts can be taken. There is a belief that just because he or she is published, the rules just don't apply anymore. In my opinion, this is far from the truth.

I honestly believe that once an author reaches that published stage, there needs to be more emphasis on those skills of writing. As a published author, you are someone that many people, writers and readers alike, look up to. At some level, when I see authors take this attitude, I feel that I am hearing hypocritcal talk. On one level, they tell the unpublished authors to work hard and stick to the process. And then, on the other level, they proceed to talk, and sometime brag, about how they do things differently.

Now don't get me wrong. I am not talking about all published authors out there. There are many that really do believe in the process. They have not forgotten who they are and what it takes. Unfortunately though, I do believe there are far more that seem to think they are much better than they are. These are the people who believe they didn't deserve that bad review (for the book they wrote in a month). They are the people who believe they automatically deserve a really good deal (when their last several books tanked).

Where am I going to with this? Simple enough. I want to see ALL authors strive to do the very best with their writing. I want to see ALL authors remember who they are and honestly attempt to put the BEST book out on the shelf. I want to see ALL agents hold their published authors to the same standard they are expecting of with those unpublished authors. I want to see ALL editors hold their published authors to the same thing. Maybe, if we do this, we will see a rise in high quality writing in the publishing business.


P.S. And for those of you that are unpublished and complain about the publishing industry for not buying your book, remember that I would hope we expect the same out of you as a writer. There is no difference.

See you soon in Wisconsin.


  1. Timely for me. I've needed to add some world building to my book so I got David Gerrold's book on writing science fiction and fantasy. It wasn't terribly helpful on the issues I was looking for, but he introduced a couple of very difficult writing concepts, one of which I jumped on right away to try: ePrime and meter. Gerrold used ePrime many years into his career and found it something to push him to be better. I'm trying ePrime, just for 'was' on the book I was submitting (just dropped it from submitting to do the revisions), and for the rest that come with it for the next one. It's an astounding experience because it really forces me to think about how the sentences are worded and what I truly need to say.

    I always want to get better with each book. I've read far too many where I lose the writer I fell in love with because they stop writing so well.

  2. Great post! I would hope that as a writer I would continually strive to write my best.

  3. I'm a freelance editor, and I was told not to touch the writing of a famous novelist in a project with several contributors. She believes, having made a zillion dollars, that she is beyond that. She isn't. But no one will tell her.