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Thread: Discouraged - why bother?

  1. #1
    New kid, be gentle! Carlene's Avatar
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    Discouraged - why bother?

    Dave from P&E recommended wonderful this site and I've spend WAY too much time here in the last couple of days. It's all very discouraging. I've read about the scams - far too many, the self-publishing DON'T DO IT, the POD, DON'T DO IT, the vanity presses, DON'T DO IT. Over and over again I hear that this method or that one won't work because you'll only sell books to friends. I have to ask - how many people here make a living at writing? One? Two? Six? I've been a writer for over 25 years and I know the odds. Why do I write? Two reasons. First of all, I have to. I can no more stop writing than stop breathing and the second reason is because I want people to read my stories. If that means I have to crank them out one at a time on my computer and sell them in front of the supermarket - that's what I'll do. I know the odds of being published with a major house or getting an agent, but still I try. I know I'll never make money with my writing. I sure haven't yet, but I also know I will never stop publishing what ever I can, where ever I can because the biggest thrill I still get is when someone comes up to me and says, "I read your book and I loved it." So, please don't look down on me because I have two books coming out this year that are PODs. I'm doing the best I can. Sure I'll probably only sell them to friends, but maybe they will tell their friends and I'll sell a few more. I'm so proud of all my books and sometimes when I pick one of them up I get a chill. I think, I wrote that and it's good!

    This site is terrific and a wonderful help to writers, but I think I'd better stay away. It's too discouraging. I'm going to write now.

  2. #2
    Elder Scrolls devotee
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlene
    So, please don't look down on me because I have two books coming out this year that are PODs. I'm doing the best I can. Sure I'll probably only sell them to friends, but maybe they will tell their friends and I'll sell a few more. I'm so proud of all my books and sometimes when I pick one of them up I get a chill. I think, I wrote that and it's good!
    Carlene, you have to do whatever works for you depending on what your goals are. What's important is that you're pleased with whatever results you're getting, not what others think. Best of luck to you.

  3. #3
    haz a shiny new book cover Christine N.'s Avatar
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    You could always try one of the other threads. Like the Novel Writing thread. Uncle Jim always has sage advice to give people, and we're all inspiring each other with our stories.

    Come on up!
    Christine

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  4. #4
    Woods bum wardmclark's Avatar
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    I make my living writing - not a lavish living, but a comfortable one.

    Now: Here comes the "but." I make my living writing user instructions, regulatory and quality procedures and manuals for high-tech manufacturing companies, mostly medical manufacturers. That's what pays the mortgage and puts food on the table.

    I write fiction for fun. I've sold minor bits here and there, but I've probably made less than a hundred bucks writing fiction. In fact, I put a lot of my short stories and so on up on my Web site for anyone to look at, free.

    POD'd my non-fiction book with iUniverse. If I were doing it over, I'd probably have used Lulu or some other source if I were going to self-pub, but in 2001, that's what I did. I've sold maybe 150 copies. It was a small-market, niche book, and at the time I just wanted it out in front of people. I sold a few copies, did a bunch of talk radio programs (great fun) and had a good time.

    Point is, if you're enjoying yourself and clearing the housekeeping, that's what really counts. While I discourage paying to publish when there are places like Lulu to handle the small work for family and friends, fiction writing is, for most of us, something we do first and foremost for ourselves.

    Ward M. Clark
    From Bear Creek

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin hunterwoman75's Avatar
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    Red face making yourself happy

    You have to do what makes you happy not the rest of the world. I don't look down on you for doing POD, I think about it all the time. It can be discouraging to read all the bad comments about agents and publishers. I know I'm there with you. I thought that I had an agent that truly believes but now I'm not so sure.

    I have the exact same feelings about being published as you. I want to be the first Young Adult Fiction Writer to write specifically about kids hunting and fishing. I know my work will sell, so I keep believing. (finding the right publisher helps)

    Make yourself happy and the rest will follow.

    Hunterwoman75



  6. #6
    New kid, be gentle! Carlene's Avatar
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    I'm with a royality paying publisher who does both ebooks and POD, not IUniverse or the like. Both books are ready for publication and I have to say, the editors are two of the best I've ever seen. I don't have my December cover yet, but the July release is in a word FABULOUS. I also self-published a nonfiction book and found the experience to be...interesting. I own a commercial printing business and could do all my own books but of course it's that distribution thing! Also, the instant I say, "Self-published" around published authors, I see nose go up, up, up in the air.

  7. #7
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    The important things are to know your goals, and to enjoy what you're doing.

  8. #8
    Learning to read more, post less
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    Discouraged.

    I don't know how many writers here earn a living from it, but there are many here who earn a good bit. And what odds? Writing isn't a lottery. If you write well, if you tell a story well, if you build characters people care about, you're in. If you can't do these things, self-publishing, POD, and/or vanity presses won't change it. You still won't be able to do them. Either you can write well, and tell a story well, or learn to do them, or you can't.

    I don't look down on you. We all do the best we can. It's the quality of most self-published material I've read that I object to, not the writers. The only danger I see is in selling yourself short. There is an awful lot of horrible, unreadable junk in the world of self-publishing, but there are also some talented writers who gave up on learning to write well enough, and learning to tell a good enough story, well before they should have. Once such a writer goes the self-publishing route, the path back can be very difficult to find.

    In truth, not everyone is cut out to write publishable fiction, anymore than everyone is cut out to be a great pianist, an NBA player, or anything else. If we're fortunate, our talent and ability matches our dreams. If it doesn't, well, then we need to find new dreams.

    And if what you're doing really makes you happy, then does it really matter what anyone else thinks? It's nice when a fan likes a novel or short story, but I don't write novels and short stories to please others, and my satisfaction in life and writing doesn't go up or down with the opinion of others.

    I believe you when you say you have to write. It would scare me to death if I felt this way, as would anything I couldn't quit doing. For me, there is no such thing as "I can no more stop writing than stop breathing." There's nothing mystical about writing. It is what you think it is, and like anything else, if you want to, you can quit. Believe me, I could quit writing in a second, and would if something better came along to replace it.

    But if you believe you have to write, then write, though I would ask if writing may be less important to you than having others read, and say they like, what you write?

    In the end, I'm a pragmatist. Do what you love. Don't do what you hate. If you're happy, then who cares? If you're not, then find something that will make you happy. Life's way the heck too short to spend it unhappy.

    I've certainly quit things I really wanted to be good at, but simply wasn't. (Which is not to say at all that you can't be a wonderful writer, if you work at it. You may well be selling yourself short. Some darned good writers didn't find their stride until they were into retirement years.)

    I've quit things I really wanted to do purely and simply because I wasn't any good them, and odds had nothing at all to do with it. I simply wasn't any good. And most of all, I quit because I think the worst possible epitaph I could have was, "He might have been wonderful at something else."

    Are you happy with what you're doing? If you are, then to heck with everything else, including opinions. If you aren't, then find something that will make you happy. Death doesn't come when you want it to, and the healthiest, happiest, richest person in the world can die at any moment. The trick is to die with a smile on your face, and with an epitaph other than "He might have been wonderful at something else."

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Shai's Avatar
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    I think you hit the nail on the head, Jamesaritchie. Wonderful way to put it.

    I think everyone, even the big-time writers we hear making millions or billions of dollars, have their moments when they are discouraged. Everyone has low points. I try to see my low points as opportunities to highlight why I need to push on and improve on what I'm doing. If I never doubted what I'm doing, I'd never be able to fully appreciate when I make a success, even if that success is only a personal one, like breaking the 40K-word mark on a work-in-progress, or a public one, like one day being able to visit a bookstore and see my work on the shelf next to others that I've admired for years.

  10. #10
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I am concerned about the limiting belief, though, in the parent. You'll never make money? Gee whiz. Follow all of your dreams and beliefs. Fine. But why sell yourself short and not even try?

  11. #11
    Dreamer
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    And don't forget that good editors, coaches, writing peers and classes can help fix the weak spots and increase your chances at getting published. You don't need to be perfect in your writing, sometimes it takes guidance to get to the prize.

    M.

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW JenniferDZ's Avatar
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    I am starting to make a living at writing. I did mostly feature articles for magazines until I fell into some medical writing. Now that's providing the money to allow me to do some fun articles once in a while. I want to write fiction eventually, but I'm a little afraid to. I *am* really good at what I do, and I'm afraid to break into something new, but I keep reading and trying to write little things just to work on the craft. I think, just like any other job, you have parts of it you like and parts of it you don't. I never dreamed of writing transcription courses, but I'm writing for a living (albeit a part-time one--I'm a stay-at-home mom). I originally wanted to "dabble" until all the kids were in school, but my business is growing in spite of that, and *that's* some really great confirmation, inspiration and satisfaction. Don't stop writing or finding an outlet for your writing if that's your dream. You never know what's going to happen in this business!


    Jennifer DZ

  13. #13
    Fish Whisperer aka eraser's Avatar
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    The poo-pooing of vanity and self publishing that you've gleaned from these boards is mostly because the marriage is bad between method and expectations. Too many neophyte writers think that just getting a book bound will somehow result in bookstore placement, strangers buying it, a spot on Oprah and a 6-figure advance on the next one.

    Your expectations seem realistic and there's absolutely nothing wrong with using a service that supports your goals.
    Recently Thunk Thoughts
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    My book makes a great gift!

    He who conquers others is strong. He who conquers himself is mighty. - Lao Tzu

  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Discouraged

    I have checked into this web page often and have never really see anything positive from anybody. People seem to be reluctant to give any informatin that would be helpful to a new writer besides hand in there and follow your dreams.
    People seem to be quick to promote their own agendas and information they are selling. Sometimes it feels like the pot is calling the kettle black. I have not had a story published, but I recently purchased the 2005 Guide to Literary Agents. I am going to be reading it from front to back and hope to find an agent who may express interest in the series of stories I have written.

    Good luck to the new writers who are trying to find solid leads to further their writing career. Maybe this book will be the guide we are looking for in this rat race.

  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkle
    I have checked into this web page often and have never really see anything positive from anybody. People seem to be reluctant to give any informatin that would be helpful to a new writer besides hand in there and follow your dreams.
    People seem to be quick to promote their own agendas and information they are selling. Sometimes it feels like the pot is calling the kettle black.
    Wow, I don't know what threads you have been reading, but this does not sound like tne AW I know.

  16. #16
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Comes from just reading the Bewares Board. It's as if your only acquaintence with a town was riding around the bad parts with the Vice Squad at two in the morning.

  17. #17
    Thanks, special friend for my avi! AW's Treasured Chocolate Birthday Lady Susie's Avatar
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    Hi, Sparkle and all,

    I agree with Tish. AW is the best board ever and that members here are extremely helpful and go out of their way to help anybody who needs help, even if the person is only a 'guest.' Maybe you're just not looking at the right threads.
    Check out the greeting card forum and you'll see everyone is very helpful and cooperative and that's just one forum.

    Warm regards, Susie

  18. #18
    Elder Scrolls devotee
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkle
    I have checked into this web page often and have never really see anything positive from anybody. People seem to be reluctant to give any informatin that would be helpful to a new writer besides hand in there and follow your dreams.
    Gimme a break. There is a ton of information here. Yes, everyone has their own agenda. Yes, there's bullshit here, just like there is on any internet board. But there are also people who freely share their experience. You need to visit the other forums, like the novel forum or the ask the agent forum, not just stick around this one.

  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW JenniferDZ's Avatar
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    I totally agree. My first contact with this board was through the bewares forum, and I have to admit being a bit addicted now. I have come across so many people who were willing to support me and offer a LOT of information. I have learned so many new things already, and I have so much to explore yet. I highly recommend this community and felt accepted right away.


    Jennifer DZ

  20. #20
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Discouraged

    Ok, maybe I am looking in the wrong area. If I have offended people, I offer my apologies. I want eveyone to succeed in this desire to have a book published. I did not realize there were so many agencies that sucker in people hoping to have their work published. I have had a few articles published in magazines, but the book part I am new in the market place. I am into riding children's stories about horses and dreams. I own 16 horses, so I know how children react to horses. I have been on tour with my stallion and people have stand in long lines to get his picture. I have seen children's reaction to this horse as they close their eyes and dream of riding him. People have requested any information they can about him as far away as England, France, and other countries. If I can find the right agent, I know the stories would fly off the racks.

    I wish the best of luck to all.

    Sparkle
    Last edited by Sparkle; 06-09-2005 at 12:15 AM.

  21. #21
    I Heart Mac Absolute Sage Lauri B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkle
    Ok, maybe I am looking in the wrong area. If I have offended people, I offer my apologies. I want eveyone to succeed in this desire to have a book published. I did not realize there were so many agencies that sucker in people hoping to have their work published. I have had a few articles published in magazines, but the book part I am new in the market place. I am into riding children's stories about horses and dreams. I own 16 horses, so I know how children react to horses. I have been on tour with my stallion and people have stand in long lines to get his picture. I have seen children's reaction to this horse as they close their eyes and dream of riding him. People have requested any information they can about him as far away as England, France, and other countries. If I can find the right agent, I know the stories would fly off the racks.

    I wish the best of luck to all.

    Sparkle
    Actually, Sparkle, this may be a perfect case where self publishing is warranted. Don't most tack shop owners and horsey people go to the trade shows in King of Prussia, PA? I just did a little research into what tack shops are looking for, in terms of books, and a couple of owners mentioned that they are looking for more kids' stuff. What about looking into publishing a kids' book about your horse and selling it at the trade show? It's a pretty specialized market, but your audience is ideal: they are obsessed, they have money, and most of them will buy anything that has to do with horses. Just a suggestion, but I've seen it work well in this market before.

  22. #22
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    Sparkle, authors have enough hopes and fears for any ten normal people. I try not to get into that. The task I've assigned myself here is to tell people the truth. If on one day that means I'm saying something positive and encouraging, well, that's nice; but chances are, next day I'll be saying something else. And not only do I not tell people to follow their dreams; I tell them that people who talk about fulfilling authors' hopes and dreams are almost certainly not trustworthy.

    I think it's useful.

  23. #23
    Ooo! Shiny new cover! Absolute Sage Cathy C's Avatar
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    Sparkle, Carlene -- I don't think there's anything wrong with POD, per se. It has a place in the world, but that place isn't for you to make your mortgage payment every month. You'll spend more time and money getting those sales than had you just put the marketing money in the bank. That's the problem that most people have with it.


    However, if you want to write good books for you, your friends, and those who happen upon your books and not worry about finding the perfect agent or the perfect publisher, then GO FOR IT! But if you want to start a process that will bring in lots of money for years to come, then take your time and find the right home for your books.

    I'm just beginning to make my living at writing. Non-fiction brings in the grocery money, and I'm hoping that fiction will start to pay the mortgage. But it takes YEARS -- even if you got picked up by a NY publisher today.

    You're the only one who can decide what you want out of writing. But remember -- THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH WRITING JUST FOR YOURSELF!

    Good luck!
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  24. #24
    Techno-Cathar Perfect Diana Hignutt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkle
    I have not had a story published, but I recently purchased the 2005 Guide to Literary Agents. I am going to be reading it from front to back and hope to find an agent who may express interest in the series of stories I have written.
    Good luck to the new writers who are trying to find solid leads to further their writing career. Maybe this book will be the guide we are looking for in this rat race.
    The book you are referring to was the reason I ended up with a scam agent and then a scam publisher for my first novel. I'm not trashing the book, by any means. There are certainly plenty of reputable agents listed there, however...there may be some badies too. Double check listings of agents you are considering submitting to against other sources.

    My first (scam) agent expressed interest in my work, so did my scam publisher. Now, I've learned (the hard way) to take everything with a grain of salt, and to check listings from multiple sources.

    Best of luck to you.

    Publishing is a hard business. It is filled with rejection. You must steel yourself if you want to make it in this industry.

    diana

  25. #25
    in a van down by the river eldragon's Avatar
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    I understand completely, Sparkle. I have a book that I know will sell ......but all I get is "not right for us....sorry."

    How do I know it will sell? Because its a hot memoir about something people are interested in.

    I have comments from editors "You write very well, and are adept at setting a compelling scene, but I can't convince the rest of the editing team to do a memoir."

    Mostly I get. "I'm not the right agent." infinity.


    I had a bad agent for 6 months - did nothing.

    I've had editor's from major houses call me on the phone and get my hopes up .......and nothing comes of it. I've had encouraging notes...........


    but mostly ....it's the average people I talk to about my book,"Oh, I would read that."


    "Really? That's fascinating. I'd buy that."


    So, do I sink all my money into the book and try to promote it myself? At the cost of my famililies security?


    And my experience so far, has been that agents have done nothing but cost me money. I had an agent the first of April - ask for two copies of my manuscript - sent to her. One copy for her, one for her senior partner.

    When she got them, she said "Oh, it looks good, but needs many changes. More later." She never contacted me again, nor did she answer my emails.


    The cost of that - $30.

    Editor's, in my experience, have been more likely to offer comments on my work. And, I even had one ask me to send my manuscript via email - so I wouldn't have to pay to have it printed and shipped.

    So, I'm frustrated, too. Will I die without seeing my book published?????
    Pam

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