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Thursday, June 16, 2005


More Straight Talk

In yesterday’s entry, I talked about straight talking and the challenge to find it in the editorial world. This morning on Publisher’s Lunch (the free email newsletter that you should be getting), it connected to the entry saying, “MacAdam/Cage editor-in-chief Pat Walsh (whose notable books included Mark Dunn's Ella Minnow Pea) is also leaving, after seven years at the publisher.” The world of the editor is in continual motion. To me, it’s a reminder of our need to maintain relationships—no matter how small.  

I’ve continued reading in Walsh’s book, 78 Reasons Why Your book May Never Be Published and 14 Reasons Why It Just Might (Penguin Original, June 2005). As I mentioned yesterday, the book has no religious or spiritual connection.  Some of you might be offended by a bit of how Walsh expresses himself—but it is unvarnished straight talk about publishing. His first reason: The Number One Reason Your Book Will Never Be Published Is Because You Have Not Written It.

How true is that statement? I’ve met a steady stream of people who dream of writing a book yet never get their fingers on the keyboard and produce an excellent manuscript. It’s no excuse to say, “Not yet” unless you are moving toward the goal. You might move in incremental steps. For example, you can write a series of magazine articles to learn about the business before you jump into a full-length book project (highly recommended).

And if you dream of earning a big financial pay off from writing, then Walsh brings more straight talk to the writer saying, “Given the amount of time it takes to write a good book, working at McDonald’s makes more financial sense. In a nutshell: Getting published requires an unholy amount of work and a great deal of time. It is often closer to the culminating of a career rather than the beginning of one. If you are looking for a hobby and enjoy writing, then by all means, have at it, but know that being published is a long shot in the best of circumstances.”

The truth of his statements ring loud to me. Yet don’t get discouraged and feel dashed from this straight talk.

Each of us have to find our own journey in this business called publishing. Pick something short (like a basic magazine article) which you can accomplish today (or at least begin). When you do it, celebrate. Then keep moving ahead the next day. It works for me.

1 Comment:

At 9:53 AM, Blogger Dee Left a note...

Funny you mentioned writing a basic magazine article as a starting point. I am teaching a magazine writing workshop at the local community college this fall and my brief description is: If you won't to become a published novelist, star here. So can I print this entry out and distribute it to my class, in order to buttress the point of the class? :)

 

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