A Reality Check
By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin
Normally in these articles about the writing life, I'm a glass half full person. In other words, I see the world as filled with opportunity rather than danger. In general, I'm optimistic about my future—even when I'm about to get fired (yes it has happened). Today I'm going to do something different and attempt to give you a bit of a reality check about the world of publishing.
If you are writing and publishing, whether you are aware of it or not, a great deal of your work is rooted in speculation and risk. Yes you may have created a book proposal or manuscript or query letter and gotten an contract and specific work to produce for a publisher. From my experience and if you look at it realistically, this writing is still speculation. Every one of these arrangements is tied to your performance in a timely fashion with excellent writing.
While it is rare for a contracted book to be cancelled, authors need to be aware of the risks and that every publishing arrangement can crash or change at any point in the process. In most cases, these cancellation clauses in a contract are not exercised. As a writer, I can tell you it is painful when it does happen. Whenever you reach these crisis points in life, there are always at least two choices. You can wallow in your pain and go into a huge stall where nothing else happens. Or you can choose to move forward and realize when one door closes, you can begin looking for another door of opportunity. This move of persistence and consistency is one of the most important in my view. If you make this choice, you take responsibility for what happened (even if it was outside of your control) and move forward.
The Best Prevention
The best prevention for these crash situations is to learn to create excellent writing and storytelling. If you learn to write in a timely way (meet or exceed the deadlines) and deliver consistent, good storytelling and writing, it is your best recourse. Even with good writing, something can crash but it is best prevention measure you can take as a writer. The first step in this process is awareness which I've tried to do in this article. Then commit yourself to continuing to grow and improve as a writer and storytelling.
10 Publishing Myths, there is a great deal in the publishing process which is outside of our control as writers. But there are also steps each of us can take with our writing and publishing efforts (also the emphasis of 10 Publishing Myths).
Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty type of person? How do you keep a realistic view of the publishing world? Let me know in the comments below.