This week's Road Trip Wednesday asks How far would you go to get published? and offers the following examples:
1. Jumping on the trend train
2. Switching to a well-selling genre
3. Minor revisions requested to sign with an agent
4. Major revisions requested by an editor
I could never see myself doing #1 or #2. It’s the same reason I don’t wear skinny jeans: I know what works for me, and I know that if I don’t stay true to it I’ll be unhappy, uncomfortable, foolish-looking,
and seriously worried about my circulation. Besides, publishing takes an eternity and trends can change in an instant, so chasing what’s hot could easily come to nothing, or even backfire. Why would I gamble on something that I don’t really want to write in the first place?
In most cases, however, I would definitely embrace #3 or #4. I’m a believer in extensive (some would say excessive) revision, and I figure I’ll be even more motivated when it’s based on specific feedback from someone who wants to make me better and who knows what it will take. So if it’s simply a question of hard work and time, I’m all in for minor or major revisions, especially at this point in my writing when I know I have so much to learn. The only reason I would turn them down is if the revisions seemed too focused on selling rather than improving the narrative. Of course, there’s a lot of potential gray area there. (Is my agent suggesting more kissing scenes/love triangle drama because that’s what sells to teen girls, or because that’s what my story needs but I’m too pathologically averse to writing romance to realize it?) Hopefully I’ll be able to find a healthy balance where I trust my agent, my editor, myself, and my story enough to make the right choices.
But honestly it’s going to be a while before I even need to consider these publication-related conundrums, so right now I’m thinking about a different version of “How far will you go to get published.” As in, how long can I be unpublished and still treat writing as a career (meaning only working a few hours a week at another job and therefore being financially dependent on my husband) before I’m overwhelmed by guilt/debt/the desire for nice things (a house). And if I do get a full-time job, how much sleep/sanity/hobbies/relationships will I be willing to sacrifice to still making writing a priority?
Obviously I hope I'll go all the way, and right now I feel totally energized and determined enough to do it. But I know that years of revision and rejection can take a toll. Fortunately I also know (errr, read about / stalk on the internet) plenty of authors who faced years of rejection but just kept going and eventually found incredible success.
I'm sure most of you have seen this video, but it's the best way I can think to conclude this post, and it bears repeating a gazillion times anyway. Never give up!