Over the end of last week and this weekend I participated in Pitch to Publication, another semi-twitter competition involving editors, query letters, and the first five pages of my manuscript. Nothing overtly exciting happened to me, though I did get a little feedback (and will be getting more soon here).
But the most helpful part so far seems to be the conversations that occurred with other writers, and the editors.
I won’t go into all the details, but one conversation stuck out to me. It involved what exactly would be your ‘debut’ novel.
And it went from there. It’s not exactly a new concept — most of us should write one or two books before thinking about publishing anyway. The book I’m trying to publish isn’t my first.
But I wanted to talk about it for a minute, because it’s interesting to me — and because of a lot of disappointment I saw on the Pitch to Publication feed (including mine).
Just because it seems hopeless to publish your book, because you’re told the plot is too cliche or the characters unlikeable or the themes too obvious (or boring), doesn’t mean the book will NEVER be published. Hell, it probably just needs a massive rewrite and a good editor. But if that’s not the case and you’ve been trying to publish for 5 years and it seems like a completely hopeless endeavor and you should just give up —
Relax. You’re a writer: this isn’t going to be the only thing you write. Something else may meant to be as your debut novel — and this manuscript you have right now, wonderful news: it can be published later, after you achieve success. Moving on to another project, one that is (annoyingly) more market-conscious and aimed to sell, does not mean you are abandoning your heart and soul.
I feel weird saying it. For me, and probably for you, writing is about the heart, and thinking of it in regards to ‘markets’ and ‘sell-ableness’ makes me cringe inside. Well, there’s a certain amount of get over it that needs to happen. Being an author is a career. You’re selling things. You need to be aware of the market and the whole capitalism thing.
This doesn’t mean that you should force yourself into writing something you don’t want to write. Or that you need to turn yourself into a only-business minded person (ew).
It just means pay attention. And try to be conscious of it as you write. Be weird. Be different than the trend. Think of a new way to do things. Push boundaries. Read and read and read and read things you don’t normally read. Be creative in your creativity.
Okay. Minor preachy-lesson over with.
Thank god I have a lot of story ideas. I just need to make them unique if my current one doesn’t work out… because now I’m uncertain it’s different enough.
What do you think? Did you participate in Pitch to Publication? How many ideas do YOU have running around in your head?