Welcome back, Dear Readers.
Michelle, who has previously published her novels online and recently signed with a traditional small publisher, has learned that landing a book deal doesn’t make you happy. Is it a happy occasion? Yes, but if you aren’t generally content with your life already, you could be disappointed by how little changes when that fabled publishing contract comes your way.
This post rang true because I admit that I’ve often felt my life will be perfect when I’m a published author and can finally write full-time. I can see how that mindset would (and does) set writers up for a fall. Yes, you often make more money for your writing. You sometimes gain more respect as an author. You can finally show off that shiny new volume to family and friends. But once the initial rush is over, what are you left with? Just you, and your work. Exactly like before.
I’m not ready to go after the brass ring with Dragonfly Summer just yet, but I went through something similar when I signed with my first agent. When she initially told me she wanted to represent my work, I was euphoric. Finally, actual proof that I was “good enough”! This was a woman who’d worked in the publishing industry for years, and she was based in New York–the toughest literary nut to crack. She must be an authority on what was publishable material, right?
Of course I knew that she might not be able to sell my book, but I believed all the hype I was told about million dollar deals and instant fame and was sure that wouldn’t happen to me. Well, guess what? It did. And because I was so positive that this agent was my one chance at publishing success, it took me years to admit what should have been patently obvious from the beginning…that this woman’s heart wasn’t in being an agent, and that we weren’t a good fit.
One quote that I have always loved is Take pleasure in the journey, not just the destination. It is sometimes difficult to take any joy in the rejections and uncertainty that are part and parcel of being an unpublished writer, but at this stage, your work is your own. No one tells you what to write or how to write it. There are no expectations from fans or publishers. Don’t feel like rewriting that book again? Then don’t. Write something else. The freedom of being unpublished is something I never appreciated until I had an agent telling me to rewrite the same book over and over again.
Do I believe Michelle that some parts of being published will be less than glamorous? Less than fun? Even depressing, stressful, and frustrating? Yes, I do. But is it still worth it? Yes, of course!
What do you think of Michelle’s post? Can you identify with it? Have you ever experienced something similar? The first FOUR people to post an insightful comment in response (doesn’t matter if you agree with her or not) will win two free passes to the new IMAX theatre at the Polo Park Cineplex in Winnipeg. The passes are good until September 31. Obviously, the winners will have to be in Winnipeg or the surrounding area.