Monday, August 2, 2010

Making the Right Decisions

The publishing industry is always full of choices. Successful authors have found the ability to see the different paths in front of them and always (or at least most of the time) to choose the right path. The problem though, is that many authors simply make poor decisions. Why is this? I honestly think writers simply aren't paying attention or simply aren't thinking.

Let's go back to some of my posts before Orlando. I kept screaming to authors to make sure you signed up for the right appointment with an editor or agent. Yet I saw many people not doing that. their decisions were based on their dreams and wishful thinking, not so much on the reality of their writing. Sure these writers pitched, and I am sure many of the editors and agents told them to send something, but in reality, nothing is going to happen. They simply chose poorly.

Now that Nationals are over, many writers are going home and will likely start making poor choices due to the at adreneline rush of the conference. You're excited and likely not thinking. You might have had a great project to work with prior to Orlando, but now, are getting ready to throw that idea out and dive into this "new project that you heard would be a hit." Again, a poor choice. Time and time again, professionals say to not follow trends, and yet, you all will.

Making the right decision isn't just a problem the unpublished and unagented authors have. Published authors decide to start new projects and new genres and all the while ignoring the following they have with their current work. Agented authors that might not be published yet, also tend to make poor decisions. I spoke to several agents this weekend making the same comments. "I have an author starting a new project even though I don't think it is right. I've told them not to, but..."

I think you get the idea. But fortunately, there is a solution that WILL work. Stop and think. Listen and don't be hasty.

Don't go and rush into new projects just because it is a trend.

Listen to what professionals are really saying. Don't try to find a way that your project is the "exception to the rule."

Stick to your goals, but make sure the goals are realistic and achievable.

Truthfully examine your own writing. Sometimes the problem stems from not having a realistic assessment of your own skills and styles.

In the end, the simple solution is to think.



  1. It's funny you should post this, as I'm struggling with some of these issues. I decided not to pitch at Nationals because I'm not finished editing, and it took a great deal of pressure off me at the conference. Yet sitting in some of the workshops made me want to send out the query or walk up and spontaneously pitch to agents I saw in the hallway or after workshop sessions.

    Thank you for this post. It's helping me step back and not send a bunch of emails on a whim, just because I want to move things along quicker.

  2. Great advice as always! Glad to see you're back from the conference, I'm sure you have a mountain of queries to go through!