Asking Writers For Advice...

On how to write a book/get published is like asking a plumber how they go about starting to...plumb. (shush, it's early for me). I've had at least two people, since the announcement of my contract with Permuted, ask me how to write a book and/or get it published. One person even went so far as to state how they thought it went like this:

You write a book.

Send it to an editor.

Boom! Your name is everywhere.

Dumbledore and Snape

The above is what it made me want to do - just a simple Killing Curse to end the ignorance. But then I thought...this person genuinely wants to know about the publishing business, far be it from me to dismiss them when all they want is answers.

So I made it simple for them. I said:

"Write the book. Query literary agents in your genre. You will not get a positive response on the first try. Do it again. Continue this for a few years or go straight to indie publishers in your genre. Rinse. Wash. Repeat."

Needless to say this person was disheartened realizing how 'hard' it was to get published. They lamented at the fact that it wasn't easier. And when they told me that they were told that they 'need' to be a writer, I went, 'okay, so what's the problem?'

Their response:

"I don't have time to write. I get writer's block. It's either I'm writing faster than my brain can think or nothing."

I said, "Writer's block is a myth. You want to write, you will find the time to do it. There are no excuses."

This person started to ramble on about other things and that's when I realized they wouldn't get anything published if they continued to hold onto that notion of 'it should be easier.'

And why is it that we think, newbies to the profession as we were, that it should be easy to get anything published? Let alone let anyone see anything you pen?

Showing anyone anything you write from the depths of your soul is hard. So very hard. And once you do that, two things can happen: You either receive the praise and adulation you were seeking and continue your craft, perfecting it, or the person rips it to shreds, damaging further your already fragile ego.

Lucky for me I had a knack for what someone would say was 'good.' Those were the only works I ever showed anyone. If they weren't on par with what I'd read in books, I kept them to myself. That very rarely happened because I just had an eye for words...what they would spark in a person...what the exact emotion I wanted to convey in a piece was. That's when I knew this was all I wanted to do. Or could do.

Sure, train me to stack shelves or take care of kids, that's all well and good. But when those jobs were done, where would you find me? At my desk. Writing.

Which is why I don't buy the whole 'I need to be a writer - but first, tell me how it's done?' There's no button one can press to become traditionally published (self-publishing is another story ;) ), there's no shortcut to getting your books on shelves unless you know someone who knows someone and even then the work has to speak for itself.

There's Google, and a plethora of articles and informative links floating around that tells you exactly what to do to get an agent and/or find a publisher in your genre.

There are guidelines that have to be followed. And you'll end up editing your manuscript wayyy more than once. But if it's what you 'need' - you'll do it.

It's as simple as that.

I guess I don't have patience for people that can't see that...won't see it.

It's not enough to talk endlessly about what you want to write about - if you're a writer, you're writing. End of story.

There's no shortcut around that.

Keep your bite.

-S.C. Parris

You can find more about her at these links:

Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr