"Temporality is part of the truth" -- Chuck Klosterman

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

IWSG: TMI

Too much information. 

I'm aware that this is nothing new, but it's still a major problem.

Eighteen months ago I started actively pursuing publication of my YA novel Trendy Poseurs Go Home, building an online platform, and sifting through the glut of information about how to get it done. And I have yet to figure out how to get published.

Where's the manual? I mean, if you want to be a doctor, there's a procedure, right? Get good grades, get into med school, pass your courses, and you're a doctor. My brother-in-law is trying to become a police officer, and he's going step by step through the process the police department sets up: tests, interviews, background checks, more tests, more interviews. In order to become a teacher, I had to get a degree, take courses in education, follow the application procedures for each school district. The procedures are different for every district, of course, but at least they have procedures.

I know these analogies aren't perfect. That "writer" as a profession doesn't easily fit a mold. There's no human resources office you can visit and ask for an application. Instead, you have to rely on the experience of others in order to figure out the way to get a foothold in the business. And every one of those "others" has his or her own experience that doesn't follow any kind of manual.

As a practical person who can usually do a pretty good job at something once someone shows me how it's done, not having a definitive rule book is one of the most frustrating aspects of writing. There are too many voices out there. Too much advice. Too many ways to get published.

So what's the best way? I know there isn't one. That you have to find your own. The problem is you can't know that you've found what works for you until you've followed some advice, taken a path, and seen where it leads you. And you can't know anything, which is my frustration, for the entire time it takes for the process to run its course. And where's the finish line, anyway? Agent? Publication? Bestseller? Movie rights? And now your book is taught in Honors Literature courses in schools across the globe because of its brilliance. How long did that take?

Or none of that happens after years of work. That's depressing.

I've decided to stick to a basic few websites. See what use they can be to me. In a few years, if I'm still in the same place I am today, I'll have to take stock and reconfigure my own process.

I've joined QueryTracker.net, hoping it can keep me organized. A bazillion other sites could help me with querying, but I can't deal with more than one. I'll go with this one, and maybe I'll actually send some queries.

The site Chiseled in Rock is the official blog of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, the only "society" of writers I pay dues to belong to. I like the down-to-earth discussions they have, and since I've actually met some of these writers in person, getting published doesn't seem so outlandish when I hear them tell about it.

For writing tips, The Bookshelf Muse never fails to give practical suggestions. I use their subject thesaurus almost as much as I use a word thesaurus.

Please don't misunderstand. I love the community of writers and still read other writing blogs, engage in conversation about writing, gain and give support and encouragement. Plus, I'm still searching for that manual, that application, that silver bullet, that pot o' gold, that holy grail. 

Be sure to let me know if you've found it. 


The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Sci-Fi writer Alex J. Cavanaugh. Check out his site for more insecure writers.

24 comments:

  1. A manual would be so awesome, wouldn't it? Those are great sites to use. I love The Bookshelf Muse.

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    1. Thanks, Cherie. I'm seriously considering buying the print version of the Emotion Thesaurus. It will go nicely with my giant The Synonym Finder book.

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  2. Brent:

    What about going Indie? That's what I'm doing.

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    1. Shelly, going indie is always at the back of my mind, but my goal right now is to publish traditionally. We'll see what happens.

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  3. Nope. No manual. Yes, it takes lots of time. I think you have to figure out where you want to be. Best seller? If so, check into those authors and see how long it took them to get there. I think it all depends on what would make you happy. Sure, most of us would love the huge deal and our book in movie lights, but dig deeper, where would you be comfortable. For me, I know I want an agent and a book deal (right now I'll take what I can get), and for someone to say, "I love your book." Once I get there, then I will re-evaluate.
    Good luck!

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Christine. I know right now I want the book deal, but I don't think best seller is really necessary. I'd just like to be able to make money doing what I love.

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  4. I enjoyed reading your bio - the part where you said blogging has been a very satisfying venture, resonates with me - I expected to find blogging more painful but I have learned much more than I bargained for.

    I am working on a WIP but I have no idea about how to prepare anything for publishers. Like you said, you only find out about these things through communities like IWSG and its very exciting to realise I am learning something very valuable if I choose to go on the publishing route.

    I guess finding the silver bullet makes the journey more rewarding. Good luck. Cheers

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    1. Thanks, Clay. Blogging is satisfying, but sometimes I can't stay caught up like I'd like to.

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  5. I've read thousands of books in my life. Many of them on or about writing and not one of them had any real advice that was worth following.

    Even though I have wanted to be a writer all of my life, I've determined that what I am most suited to be is a reader.

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    1. rev, I think in learning HOW to write, there's also too much information, but it's necessary to read a lot about it to glean something about it. Kind of mush all the texts together to get a better idea.

      But in learning what to do WITH writing, that's where I need the guidebook.

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  6. Have you joined absolutewrite.com? I've learned more there than on any one writer website I've gone to (and I've gone to a lot lol)

    Found you through IWSG. :) Kelly

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    1. I'm off to check out absolutewrite.com. It had better hold the key to the whole shebang or I'm holding you responsible. :)

      Thanks for stopping by, Kelly.

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  7. It would be nice if there was a manual, but we'd probably break the rules anyways. :) And dare I say it, this is such a subjective business. Egad! I hate seeing that in responses, but the thing is I know it's true. Not everyone will love the same books/movies/artwork.

    Best wishes to you!
    Stopping by from ISWG.

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    1. You're right, Cherie, we would break all the rules if there were rules. Which is fine, I guess, but as I said, I'm a practical person and would like the know the rules I'm breaking. That's all I'm saying. :)

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  8. So true! It's very confusing and very scary. I wish you luck with your novel!

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    1. Avantkia, I don't know if I would say I'm scared, but I hate being confused. I freeze up when I don't know how to proceed. That's my frustration.

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  9. When I try to teach my mom something on the computer, she often complains that there is more than one way to go about something. But I like it that way, and the same goes for writing. Everyone can go about it differently, and that's okay. Do what's best for you.

    Allison (Geek Banter)

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    1. Allison, I hear what you're saying. I don't mind having more than one way to do something when it's intuitive, like they try to make it for computing. But in the publishing business, having more than one way to do something just requires more subjectivity, which is what I get frustrated with. I do know it's just my own weakness and I will get over it, but that doesn't mean a manual wouldn't be cool, right?

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  10. Yes, this business can be frustrating. It's because writing is an art, but publishing is a business. There's the same problem in music, film, and all the fine arts. And let's face it, plain old dumb-luck plays a part, too.

    Wishing you the best on your publishing journey. :-)

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    1. Thanks, Lexa. My wife actually posted on my blog a couple of weeks ago about how luck plays more a part than anyone wants to admit. Really, it's all subjective.

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  11. It's not normal and I think agents and publishers like it that way. But they sure are getting a wake up call with all these e-publishers and the self publishing going on. I wish you the best of luck. I'm determined to see if this whole thing works.
    HMG

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  12. Thanks, Heather. Why do you think agents and publishers like the way it is? Just because of the money? or is there another reason?

    Looks like you're my follower number 100. Congratulations! :)

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