Monday, March 12, 2012

It's Not Just About "Paying Your Dues"

I hear a lot of writers talk about the time it takes to get published and to finally make it. Many totally understand that the road to success in this business is not something that happens over night. Again, yes there are those amazing stories of people making it with their first book, but for the majority of the population, time is going to be a factor. With that said, though, there is more to this time issue than I believe many writers understand.

When I do hear these writers talk about the time factor, I always hear those amazing references of the number of rejections all of their favorite authors had. There is this belief that apparently, after a set number of rejections, fate steps in and "grants the author" with the gift of being published.

Ummmmm, not!

When we talk about the time it takes to be successful, we are talking about the amount of learning and education the author has to go through to fully be successful. This is a learning process. The authors that took all of these years before being successful were not simply sitting around and just doing the same thing over and over again. These authors were taking the time to learn their craft and to truly UNDERSTAND how to use all of those writing techniques. Eventually, their writing just became a natural flow of words instead of thinking how to apply those techniques.

If you want to call it "paying your dues" then certainly continue to. Just remember, this is not a passive activity but one that is going to require a lot of study and personal growth.



  1. This is an insightful perspective and one of which we should all take note. Sitting around waiting for the literary gods to knock us on our heads with good fortune is not part of achieving a successful literary career. In addition to learning the craft and practicing technique, neophyte writers should also be actively reading. As a reviewer of indie books it is easy to discern the authors who are readers from those who are not. It shows in their work. I don't mean to hijack your post, just offering my two cents.

  2. I think when we start writing and decide that we want to be published we can get ahead of ourselves. I did. I sent out my work long before I should have. I was not ready. I had lots to learn and boy did I find that out! When I read now I really take note at how the author has put the story together and feedback from crit partners that don't know you can wake you up as well. You always have to be willing to learn.
    I also read your YA post and I do agree with you. I write romance for adults and for YA. I am the mother of three teenagers and so I see what teens are reading and it's not those ones you listed. They are wonderful books and maybe teachers and libarians would like more of them but they are not going to read them. Most of those teens want those adult theme shall we say books. They want hard edge and things that they deal with. Teens grow up way too fast and it reflects in their reading.

  3. Gosh I love this blog!

    Great info for me the unpubbed.

    From MarcieR

  4. What I truly dislike is when an agent writes "not for me" when they really mean that the submission is not well written or the specific problem it has. Their rejection makes it sound like the idea is wrong for their line instead of telling specifically what doesn't click with them. I cannot imagine anything more than being lazy. Hey, we're all "busy," and I can guarantee their "busy" doesn't come near my "busy."

  5. Greg,
    I fully agree with you on this. I am someone who believes we need to be much more open and honest when it comes to submissions.
    With that said, there are indeed times when a story just doesn't connect with an agent. We have to totally fall for something to want to market it. I do use this line. If the story is not strong enough, I will tell an author that. At least that is one agent out there that you now knows will make that distinction clear!