Thursday, December 18, 2014

Take The Time To Learn Before You Leap

I love watching the shows on the food network and one that is fun to watch, every now and then, is Restaurant Impossible. I guess I love it, not so much for the "transformation" these people go through to turn a failing business into something great, but more to listen to the comments some of these
people make and watch Robert Irvine's face cringe. Time and time again, he asks these people, "What made you decide to go into the restaurant business?" or "What training do you have as a [insert manager, chef, hostess...etc]?" The answers, 90% of the time are always the same. They had no training

So why am I bringing this up on a blog that focuses on writing? Because there are far too many authors out there submitting projects to editors and agents, or authors just "self-publishing" their work without an ounce of knowledge about the business. These authors are piling up rejection letters, spending a lot of their own hard-earned money on editorial services, marketing and so forth, and eventually ending up like many of the individuals on Restaurant Impossible.

I am not saying that writers need to go out an earn a MFA Degree in Creative Writing. I am also not saying that people should not pursue their dreams of being a writer. What I am saying is that, regardless of which route you decide to take - traditional or self-publishing - to be successful requires learning about the business. Learn how things get published. Learn the basics of contracts. Learn how to submit projects to editors and agents. Learn how books get sold to the readers. Learn how to craft a story that isn't "just from the heart" but one that can sell. Simply LEARN!

I guess I get really frustrated when I can do a quick scan of the internet to see people blogging and complaining about all of these problems with publishing - bad contracts, getting "screwed by the publisher", piles of rejections and so forth. When you really start to dissect these rants, you see that many of these people got into these problems because of a lack of understanding. Now don't get me wrong. Yes there are some cases of authors who get into problems even after knowing what was going on, but these are really not the common situations.

Recently, I had an author who I have passed on projects several times write to me asking me for what it was going to take to get his books published. He told me how hard he was trying to write great stories, but then tossed in a phrase that made it all clear. He told me how he didn't go to conferences and was just trying to do this all on his own from what he found on the internet. Ahhhh!

There is hope here for this author. He is looking things up to try to learn, but there is so much more! Go to conferences! Find those local ones in your area and listen. Take notes. Learn.

Get online and find seminars by respectable (that's the key) instructors and learn from the comfort of your own home.

Grab those books out there that are constantly being published, again by respectable authors, explaining how the business works and listen to their suggestions.

But take the time to learn!

Don't stop writing. Keep that up, Keep those stories flowing. You might not be able to publish those little gems, but you will be learning and practicing your craft.

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