Delays…a Necessary “Evil”

When I decided I wanted to become an author, I thought that my book would be available for purchase within a year.

Once your laughter dies down, dry your eyes and continue reading…

Clearly, the journey from idea to book sales is MUCH longer than this rube knew.  There’s research, character development, plotting, etc.  There are first drafts, second drafts, and on and on until the final revision.  Then there’s the long and arduous journey of researching which agents to query in the hopes they’ll get your story and want to represent you.  Having done all of the above, I was sure that fame and fortune were close behind.

I know…how quaint.

I had begun querying agents when my writer’s group held a discussion on the importance of social networking and having a website in order to build recognition.  In our technology-driven society that shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did.  It took me a while to understand why an unpublished author would have need of any of that.  Obtaining fans before making any sales seemed to me a bit like putting the cart before the horse, but eventually I decided to bow to the wisdom of those who had been in the biz for a while.  Fairly handy with software programs, I was certain that building my own website and blog would be a mere blip of a delay.

Again my innocence was trounced.

Creating the website pages themselves was relatively easy.  I still had to research the images I wanted to use, choose the best style and color for my fonts, and get the proper urls for the links I would share with visitors, but all of that was gathered and constructed rather quickly.  What hindered me was that I had chosen certain aspects for my site that would have required much more techno-savviness than I currently possess.  Since I didn’t want to use more precious writing time to learn those things, I had to backtrack a bit and opt for different (though, just as good) features.

Then life presented me with other delays – the details of which I won’t get into here – but suffice it to say that while my querying and website building were being delayed, I learned some very useful things:

  1. A “final” revision isn’t always.  I had given my manuscript to a member of my writer’s group, hoping for feedback from someone in the business.  She pointed out grammatical & punctuation errors that might have hindered my chance of ever getting an agent, had I sent it out as it stood (you ROCK, Nancy!).
  2. Getting an agent is just the next step.  According to the published authors in my group, once you have an agent, there are (usually) revisions again, and waiting while your agent submits your book to publishers, contract negotiations, etc.  To hear them tell it, that part of the journey can be just as grueling as obtaining the agent.  The good part of this seems to be that, while your agent is shopping your manuscript around, you can start working on your next one.
  3. Time management is imperative.  Between making the necessary corrections in my current piece, finalizing the website, thinking up topics to blog about, reading the posts in my writer’s group (essential for continuing education), and all the other routines of daily life, I’m finding it difficult to actually sit down and write the next book that’s inside my head, impatient to be told.  It’s a balancing act that I’m still adjusting to.

Had this journey happened as quickly as my naivete would have had me believe, I can guarantee you I would not have been prepared for it.  The hold-ups along the way have awarded me insight, patience, and more tools with which to make the rest of the odyssey easier and more enjoyable.

The path to our goals may not always be as smooth or straight as we hope.  But if we can embrace delays as a necessary part of the process, we’ll find a wealth of knowledge in the lessons.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Mysti Berry
    Aug 08, 2010 @ 08:41:05

    It’s weird, isn’t it? Such a 19th Century process. Looking forward to the next installment!

    Reply

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