Screen Shot of My Writing Web Site “Broken Glass”
I’ve collected rejection slips for my writing for more years than I care to remember…and those rejections were the success stories.
Getting a rejection slip usually meant someone at least read your query, or glanced over your manuscript submission for three minutes (five, if it was a personal response, not a Xerox copy of a standard rejection letter), before they pitched it in the wastebasket.
Most of the time, your inquiries are greeted by a stony silence.
I wrote in my workplace: articles, public relations spiels, generic responses to customer questions (yes, we really made up booklets of standard answers). I produced and edited annual reports for a few very large corporations, wrote and designed support material for marketing events.
I even garnered some nice awards for the work I produced. But it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t always satisfying. I wanted to be an author, not just a writer.
I sold a few stories, here and there, but not enough to make a living. Writing became one of my ‘hobbies’ – sort of like my painting and photography.
So, I thought about writing and I wrote a lot. I never stopped. I counted it as a success when one of my stories or poems made it into print (or these days, online), whether I got paid for it or not. A lot of my friends didn’t even know I tried.
I thought about approaching big publishing houses with my fiction, but most of them won’t talk to you unless you have an agent. Getting a good agent to represent you is another hurdle writers face, and most never accomplish. It’s almost as tough as getting into the publishing house itself.
Then there’s the mind-numbing contracts and paltry pay for your work.
Don’t be fooled by media stories about famous writers like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. Publishers are notorious for their terrible pay to authors. Quite often it’s only ten percent or less of retail sales, which might not sound bad, until you realize how few books most authors ever sell.
On top of it all, publishers do minimal marketing and leave the vast majority of promotional work to the author … unless you’re already one of those big-name folks, with a big-time following, when they treat you like the moneymaker you already are.
A literary ATM machine.
So, I worked elsewhere and dreamed.
Well, I’ve put in my work time to make a living. I sent my sons to college and have watched them become succesful young men.
I want to work now at something I’ve always enoyed, and I don’t want to sit around more years than I may have left, waiting for those agents and publishers to notice me.
And I certainly don’t want to deal with their poor support, lousy pay and their expectation of my gratitude for talking to me in the first place.
It’s why I love e-Books, and the opportunities selling online with Amazon or Barnes & Noble can provide. Being an indie writer, I can write for my readers … and myself. I’ve already received some fabulous reviews for my books (Reichold Street, Zebulon, and Tinker).
I don’t have to write now to survive (at least not yet), and thanks to the growing power of e-Books I can write the things I want; things readers want, not things publishers think they can sell.
The creative side of my being, ever the dominant side, loves that part of it.