Friday, February 25, 2011
Taking Baby Steps...
Sometimes as we watch our children grow and develop, we are often surprised by how quickly the time passes by. One day they are struggling newborns unable to hold their head steady and extremely needy around the clock. Then, it seems only a short time later they are climbing on the furniture, eating everything in sight, and biting your kneecaps (or is this just my kid?).
But we all know that babies typically crawl before they walk and walk before they run and run before they leap. So, why don't we apply this same mentality to our writing careers?
Most authors that I've met over the last 15 years have told me that they have similar dreams and goals. They want to land that perfect agent and sell that multi-book deal to a major publishing house. Or, they want something simple...like making to the top of the NY Times Bestseller list!
I often wonder why authors don't try to take baby steps first?
Not that you shouldn't have long range goals or big dreams (quite the contrary) but why do most authors think that you have to shoot for the biggest/best publisher on the market first?
Why not give some smaller publishers a chance? Why not make an effort to publish a novella (shorter novel) or even submit to be a part of an anthology project with other like minded authors?
I tried to get published for years doing the query letter to agents and the submissions to big house editors with no luck. It was only when I took a step back and reevaluated my mission that I finally achieved success. My initial mission was just this...TO GET PUBLISHED!
So, I took those baby steps. I wrote a shorter novella and published it in e-book only format with a small house. That led to other contracts and longer novels, print books, and agent offers. It also eventually led to a big deal with a major NY house which interestingly and ultimately turned out to be the worst thing that has happened in my writing career to date.
What I discovered by taking these smaller steps was that I was slowly but steadily building a reader following, friendships in the industry, and gaining the skills and confidence in my writing that I'll need to go the distance.
So, my advice as a writer who has watched 4 children take baby steps through various stages of their lives...would be to take a big step backwards and decide on what your next baby step forward towards success should be.
And if you need me to hold your hand and steady you...I'm happy to help.
Posted by kerribookwriter at 1:07 PM