So You Want To Be a Novelist?



A life of typing sounds like fun until you realize it'll give you carpel tunnel but not the health insurance you need to treat it.






I consider myself to be an extremely practical gal. This is why my career choice of writing fiction for a living is absurd. I'm not sure what anyone else may have told you, but making a living as a fiction writer is, well, not a very good way to make one. And guess what? It's now even harder. I recently got some news from a body who knows what he's talking about and it was a huge downer. Things in publishing aren't getting better what they're getting is exactly the opposite. Promising authors are getting dropped, editors who have put out best sellers are being laid off, imprints are folding and publishers are still trying to figure out how to sell books to people who don't read them. This is not the kind of stuff anyone wants to hear, but it's what my writer friends and friendly editors having been talking about for a while.

It's tempting to go full-on Pollyanna--"It's going to get better! People are good and kind and will that reading books is a wonderful way to spend their time!"--too bad I'm not that kind of girl. I do have a lot of faith in people (okay some people), but I've had to put my book writing life in a separate category from my pay the mortgage reality. I started to do other types of writing so that I can (almost) afford to write what I want...or at least justify continuing to keep at it in my off hours. As I get ready to start my next manuscript, I have to decide which acquisition friendly genre to focus on and how much time I can devote to this new manuscript when it's not the primary focus of my writing day. If I want to keep being impractical, it seems I'm going to have to be smart about it.

That being typed, I'm totally and utterly convinced that 2011 is going to be a great year! For reals!

7 comments:

Anjali said...

This post is spot on!

And I'm as optimistic about you are for the future in writing and publishing...

Mary Kate said...

The publishing world is getting scary, especially for new writers. But maybe the push to branch out is a blessing. It forces writers to become more versatile and hopefully to find new ways to use their writing. But I'm gonna get in your boat - 2011 is going to be fantastic!

Margo Candela said...

Just when I didn't think it could get worse, it has. I really feel for authors trying to break in right now. If it was hard, if not impossible, when I first started, the market is even tighter now...even for those of us who are published.

Ara Grigorian said...

Excellent post! Some months back when I started writing my first novel I reached out to one of my heros, Seth Godin, Marketing Guru. He had great advice: if you're righting a book with hopes that you'll be rich, you better stop now. Write, he said, because you love it and you feel you need to tell a story. That is what I've done. If all goes well, one day, more than just my wife and a small circle of friends will get to read my story. But I am under no delusion that I will be able to make writing novels my full time job (although it sure would be cool!). Thanks for writing this. ~ Ara

Anonymous said...

I see that you started following me today.(Why I don't know as I have only posted once before, so this is my second one.)I enjoyed reading your blog. But it is discouraging for writers in the obstacles that we face. I do some writing on the Internet. Keep working you obviously are talented.

Sue Ransom said...

Like you I’m hopeful, and I do have an encouraging tale to tell: this time last year my dream was to be published after writing a novel almost by mistake. This year (in about 3 weeks actually) my novel will be in the major stores and my dream is to give up the day job. Dreams can come true – keep hoping!

Margo Candela said...

Even though I was very practical about writing a novel and getting published, I'm still surprised by just how much luck had to do with it. (My editor had insomnia one night and found my site after a random Google search.)

Timing, talent and persistence are also important, but I'd never turn down the chance for a little good luck to come my way.