Friday, September 20, 2013

There's No Crying in Publishing

by Mare Ball 

I started a writing/marketing course last week called "Author Training 101."  It's not about how to write, but how to finish a writing project; how to write a book proposal; how to write a business plan; how to promote your work; and how to be a bulldog about getting published.

I need to know all these things because I've been dragging my feet on my WIP for three years.  I have no idea how to write a book proposal or a business plan.  I hate self-promotion.  And I've never been a bulldog about anything.

It's the most challenging course I've ever taken (excluding all college math courses.)   It's difficult because it's forcing me out of my comfort zone - which, of course, is always uncomfortable and scary.  Comfort zones are aptly named, aren't they?

I'm only in week two of this course, and I'm struggling with the homework.  I have to answer questions like:

Is my current project unique? 
If I were a publisher, would I invest money in my project?
Am I tenacious enough to do whatever it takes to get published?

I don't know.  I don't know.  And I don't know.  I never concretely thought about these things.  I ended up saying, yes, I think so, and what does whatever-it-takes mean?   Go into debt?  Change all the things I love about my project?  I still don't know.

This course is taught by Nina Amir, whom you can check out HERE.    She's direct and talented and I'm impressed with her knowledge.  I'm going to learn so much from this eight-week course.  I'm afraid I might learn I don't have what it takes to get published.

There, I said it.

That's my fear.  That I don't have the tenacity, the will, the never-give-up attitude that is necessary to get published.  Some things in life aren't worth killing yourself over.

Nina also asks her students these things:

How do you handle rejection?  (bums me out)
Are you generally optimistic?  (depends)
Are you objective about your work? (probably not)

I have a long way to go.

Nina then said something that really hit me.  "Getting your book published is not about you.  It's about your reader."  Hmmm.  The heart-and-soul work that is going into my book is probably not going to be recognized by the reader.  The reader is looking for connection to her heart and soul. 

This is a shift in thinking for me.  For readers to spend their hard-earned money on my book, they must be engaged and inspired within a minute of skimming its pages in Barnes and Noble (a girl can dream.)  My love for it doesn't necessarily transfer into sales.

This was hard to hear, although, upon further thought, I know it's true.  I don't buy a book if it doesn't speak to me on some level.  This course is helping me understand the realities of publishing and selling and convincing the world my work is a worthy investment.    

I told you this is a challenging course.

But, I'm sticking with it, and I'm going to ruminate on all the questions and dig deep and see what I'm made of, find the bulldog inside.  Because getting my book published is what I want to do.   With God's grace and direction, I will succeed.

It might be difficult, but things of value always are.  In the movie A League of Their Own Gina Davis tells Tom Hanks she's quitting baseball because it's too hard.

"Of course it's hard," he replies.  "If it was easy, everybody would do it."  


  1. Awesome! Sounds like a good course, though hard of course. I love that ending--"if it was easy, everybody would do it." Must remember that.

  2. Yes, yes! Love it! And just like Jeanna, I loved that last line- it reminds me of Randy Pausch in The Last Lecture when he talks about the walls- the walls are there to keep out other people- the people who don’t want it as badly as you do.

    I have found personally that when I keep my writing dreams in the front of my mind, things naturally start to progress- I find myself going to workshops and writing groups and becoming better and meeting people who have the connections to help me accomplish my dream. I accomplish small successes- getting published in magazines and short story anthologies- and with each little step I feel that my dream- publishing a book- is not so much a question of if, but when.

    I think it’s the same for you- you’re writing here, you’re taking this class- you’re on your way, you just don’t know it yet! Hang in there, ask yourself the tough questions and find that inner bulldog!

  3. Great post! Thanks for taking my course and being such a tenacious student.

  4. Yes, yes, yes! And everything that KaseyQ said, too. :)



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