Tuesday, July 6, 2010
LAND OF THE FREE PRE-PUBLISHED
Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management recently blogged on being pre-published. This, by the way, is a term that raises hackles in some people. But it just means a person who is seriously writing and trying for publication and who hasn't achieved it yet. Since the average time for getting published after that person starts seriously seeking it is ten years, there are a lot of people in that category! No matter what they want to call it.
At any rate, the point of Michael was making, as a result of an encounter at a conference, was that being pre-published is a time too many writers don't stop to enjoy. A time without deadlines, when no editors are breathing down your neck. A time when you're free to write whatever you want and your own pace.
The comments, as you can imagine, if you're a pre-published author, were lively. Check them out.
I can't go along with the agent, or the writer, here. I'm sure he's never been in this position and, in fact he states that he's quoting an author who is now published. I'll bet he caught her at a bad time--maybe a deadline coming up? Maybe her sales figures are down? She seems almost to wish she'd never been published.
Sure, we're free to write whatever we want. But if we knew what we could sell, we'd drop our creative vision and write THAT in a heartbeat. And Michael and his un-named writer don't know how I work if they think I have no deadlines. Of course I have deadlines. I set them up myself and I knock myself out to meet them. Without deadlines, I'd probably spend three years writing each book.
But when the book I really wanted to write, that I was so free to write, hasn't attracted an agent or a publisher after a year of querying, it's time to write another book that I think someone might want to read. After another year, it's time to write another one.
I really think a lot of us ARE writing books that other people want to read. In fact, people who have read mine usually want to read more. Now, how do I convince an agent that I have a market?
Long live the free, and may we soon be fettered.
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