By C. Hope Clark –
Wherever I appear, invariably someone comes up to me and asks how they can get published. I open the dialogue with questions such as:
1) Have you finished writing the story?
2) Have you edited the story with a vengeance a zillion times?
3) Have you gotten feedback from non-friends and non-family who understand the genre?
4) Have you studied indie versus traditional and understand the details of both?
Maybe I ask a few more questions depending upon the nature and interests of the person. We might delve into platform and online presence. But the eyes of half those writers interrupt or divert back into a long explanation about the story; why they are writing it; what it’s about; why it needs to be told.
I gently pull them back to the original question about publishing, and learning the craft well enough to be worthy of publishing. Some come back with me. Then there are those who, like a rubber band, launch back into a dissertation about the story. Inevitably we part, with nothing accomplished other than the writer is happy they were able to talk about their story. We didn’t really discuss much about writing well or publishing smart. While the person said they wanted to know those answers, they were too wrapped up in the story. They didn’t want to hear the hard part of the journey. They’re too busy enjoying the dream.
I understand that to a point. They are living the story in their head. It’s a great one to know, to tell. But all they want to know about the business after the writing is PUBLISH. They want a short cut from GOOD STORY IDEA to PUBLISH, without the details. The vast chasm that is writing, editing, developing a voice, and learning the business is considered a minor obstacle in the quest to get from point A to point B, not understanding there’s a long journey of canyons, mountains, and hell/fire/brimstone in between.
Keep in mind that writing is more about the craft than about the subject matter. A beautiful writer can write about anything. A mediocre writer with a good idea rarely makes it off the ground. The best advice I can give you is to learn how to write (take classes, join writers groups, hire an editor) then publish. Everyone has a journey, but not everyone takes the time to learn how to write it well. Fewer still learn how to put it into print so that the GOOD STORY IDEA can reach readers.
Fall in love with your story, but fall in love with the other parts, too.