Living the impossible dream?

Last Friday in the mail I got my somewhat anticipated RWR (Romance Writers Report published for members of the Romance Writers of America, for which I am not really a romance writer but it’s a good association to belong to).  It has articles on craft, trends, tips and success stories among other things.  I was eating lunch Saturday reading an article about the effects of the economy on the publishing world, not an entirely new idea for RWR as past issues this year have also touched on this topic.
My lunch suddenly sat in my stomach and I felt the stress creeping in.
What scares me is that while sales on the whole are only somewhat reduced or stable it’s that publishing houses already selective, are becoming even more so.  A tough dose of reality for the unpublished author.  It gets harder and harder to compete in an already competitive business, so much that my own ideals of what I want to accomplish are changing.  
I am opening myself up to working with a smaller publisher, a different genre classification and the scary world of e-publishing which has it’s own concerns and complications.
I’ve tweaked and changed my work to fit in with submissions guidelines for publishers I’d never considered before.  Ones I’m not entirely sure I love.  I’ve even grappled with removing parts of my work to fit in the much smaller word count guidelines than I’m used to.  Should I change what I ultimately want just to get a foot in the door?  For myself yes, I am willing to do quite a bit.  I’ll accept non-fiction work, freelance of nearly any type, anything to just make something stick.
Non-fiction work doesn’t help much in a novelists world as far as publication.  In fact the class I took from a NYT bestselling author said she never mentioned her numerous non-fiction works when seeking to publish her novel.  And didn’t recommend we do so either.
There’s a little figure I’ve heard that 90% of the population wants to write a book but only 1% actually do.
I’m the 1%.  Lots of people I have connected with are in that 1%.  So how do we become that percentage that makes it to the next level, the mythical world of Published?
I’m taking  classes, reading writing books, absorbing articles. I’m writing on a nearly daily basis and my list of things to do grows daily.  There’s always work that needs a bit more rubbing to gain the desired shine and polish.
I normally keep these posts off this blog and confined to my ‘professional’ writing blog but there are a lot of new people I’ve met in recent weeks here through Blogging Mama who are writers, writer mama’s, and writer dad’s.  
I know how selective and guarded writers are.  I’ve cultivated several friendships online with other writers only to have them up and disappear.  Did they feel threatened somehow?  By me, my work, my progress?  Who knows.  It’s a cutthroat business, one published authors insist is worth the struggle.  
I hope so.  If you know a writer, especially the unpublished, give them some support and encouragement.  
Because it’s cold and lonely out here on the outside of the Cool Club desperately seeking a way in…

24 thoughts on “Living the impossible dream?

  1. Did you know that members of motorcycle gangs often call themselves 1 percenters? It’s because they feel that they are the 1% of people who refuse to live by society’s rules. They even have 1% patches and hats and the like.I never thought I’d be saying this, but I encourage you to embrace your status as a member of a small group the way that they have.Remember to be proud of where you are NOW as well as working towards where you want to be.Just don’t go buying a Harley, mmkay?

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  2. K and Midlife – Thanks. Believing is the hard part.Natasha – Ha! Not that I ever rode it but my Hubby had a Harley, he even brought it with us when we moved here. It’s sold now but I know soon enough another will be appearing in my garage…

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  3. Count me in as an unpublished writer – one of the 99% who wants to write a book, but still hasn’t. I’ve got lots of drafts and story ideas, but life creeps in and takes over all my good intentions. I still keep plugging away, even if I’m not as focused on my goal as I wish sometimes.Good luck with your writing goals. I’m in awe of anyone who gets to the point of submitting a manuscript. That is a huge accomplishment!

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  4. Congrats and way to go! I hope you get yourself published. I wanted to thank you for your question submittal to HBSB. I hope you’re not disappointed that Petra wasn’t the one to answer it.

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  5. Didn’t Kurt Vonnegut work short stories for magazines? Doesn’t he have kinda a round about to novelist story?Why fear the e-world? Every path has its own twists and turns and I don’t think if you are going to succeed, an e-article will ever hurt.

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  6. I fear the e-world also, but I think it is the wave of the future with the Kindle coming out.I wish you luck. It is a hard field to be in but you are half way there. You must be excited to reach the finish line (publishing).

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  7. I’m wedging a foot in the publishing industry door, as well. Did you read the Harper’s article on the Frankfurt book festival? It’s not what I expected… but I kind of get the author’s point. Very interesting read.

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  8. Oh my God! You’ve touched on something I’ve been dealing with for three years. I’ve talked to agents, almost been signed and talked to publishers. After years of writing two ms and shipping them off to countless rejections or “if you change this…” I decided to just have fun with it. I get the RWA magazine too and I had to quit reading them. I always got so discouraged. Personally, (and I can tell you more via e-mail) I think the industry is going through a giant shift. I work at a daily newspaper during the day, and I see the changes we’re going through as well as what local publishers are going through. That’s one reason I decided on my plan (again, e-mail.)I’d rather have five readers that like what I do, rather than get $5 from a company who made me change everything.

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  9. You have a professional writer’s blog? I’d love to see it sometime. I’m a writer (magazines and websites)… but I’ve love to chat if you’re interested.

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  10. Crazy – You are too sweet. For you an autographed copy ;)Tiffany – You should go for it. I’ve been writing since I was young but only got serious about six months ago. I’m working on my 6th novel ms, while continuing to submit submit submit (and to learn).Val – You’re my sis, your supposed to say stuff like that, thanks.Steenky – I was delighted you answered my q! You are very raved about at Petra’s site.Naperville- don’t give up. Shelle- Lets hope so. Simple – I would love to break into short stories or articles for magazines. It’s getting in the door that’s the hard part right now. There are so many ebook horror type stories I hardly know if its good or bad.Dadshouse – I have not seen it. The last book party. Is this the one you reference? I am not a subscriber so it’s not letting me see the article, though I’ve perused a few of the others :)Outnumbered – we have to band together! :)Blonde – Please email me your thoughts. I would love to hear them (will send you an email asap)Robin – Maybe I spoke too soon! I do keep a website strictly for my work and ideas (somewhat). I have only recently started this. If you are so inclined, gulping, it’s on my sidebar The Literary Side (quickly going to make up some good posts, lol!)

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  11. Wow. It is tough, a tough group to join, requires a lot of hard work to stay in, a lot of time, a thick skin. I’ve never doubted that it’s worth it, even though I am not published, but I have doubted my voice, my story. I’m glad to hear I’m not alone in that.Best of luck to you.Write on!

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  12. Wow. I am most impressed with your 1% status. I think that you should stick to your guns. And what you are most comfortable with.What kind of books do you write or want to write?

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  13. Andrea – yes, “The Last Book Party” in Harpers is the one I meant, and a very entertaining read. Gives wry insights into the publishing industry. Having been to a few writer’s conferences and computer industry conferences, I wasn’t too surprised by anything in the Harper’s article. Amused, but not surprised. Whether that’s an accurate depiction of behind-the-scenes publishing life…? Who knows. Humor is good.

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  14. I can’t even imagine how scary it must be and how competitive. Those are things I’ve never really thought about. I hope that you find your way into the literary shuffle one day!

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