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ebrillblaiddes
12-17-2006, 01:58 PM
...it's time to try to publish?

I have a bunch of written stuff, most of it scattered between two laptops; I can't ever remember not writing (other than a really bad time that I think I'm finally really pulling out of), though I don't think "I could be a real writer with books in stores and people reading them and me getting money" hit until I was somewhere in the 12-14 range. (I remember being too old for insane numbers of contests, anyway.) Since then I've gone through a few submitting attacks where I send out a few queries, a few short stories, a few poems, then when it all comes back without even a nibble self-doubt kicks my butt in the form of "not ready yet."

I've never had any extended formal writing training (one 10-week college workshop course where I got an A-, another where I got an incomplete for personal reasons and to be brutally honest I shouldn't've taken the course in the first place because I knew about the personal reasons beforehand even though I didn't know the exact form they'd take) but then, I know that many people don't, so that's nothing to go by. My problem is, I don't know if I'm ready to get serious about publishing yet because I'm having trouble judging whether my writing's really at that level. I think it's as good as a lot of what I pull off the shelves, but I'm biased of course. So...how do I actually tell if this stuff on my hard drive is ready to see the light of day?

Beyondian
12-17-2006, 02:05 PM
In my humble and as yet unpublished opinion, the process is something like this:
Write, Edit, Ask yourself what would draw people to read your work, Edit some more, Edit, and repeat as long as necessary, Submit, Get rejected (or not, and then you're fine) edit, and repeat previous two steps.
I suppose one good time to look at sending your work out, is when you can't think of another thing to do with it (within reason) and you've let a few other people read it (preferably other writers) and their crits were minor.
Of course, i've only ever submitted a short children's story and a book of poetry (both unanimously rejected, and I can see why now) so I'm not overly experienced in the matter.
Hope this helps, though.

greatfish
12-17-2006, 05:51 PM
Can you actually say what it is about your work that makes it just as good or better than anything you pull off the shelf? If you can't then you're probably not ready to publish.

jenfreedom
12-17-2006, 05:56 PM
My problem is, I don't know if I'm ready to get serious about publishing yet because I'm having trouble judging whether my writing's really at that level. I think it's as good as a lot of what I pull off the shelves, but I'm biased of course. So...how do I actually tell if this stuff on my hard drive is ready to see the light of day?

I'm not sure you can ever tell unless you simply send stuff in to ediors/publishers. And even then how can you be sure because you could catch someone on a bad day when they feel like sending out rejections, or your story may be wrong for one pub but right for another, or it could just be bad timing. IMO (and this is just my op) getting published has to do with sending out enough work, sending your work to the proper pubs, good timing, and working hard once you get an assignment. You can't control timing but you can control the others to a point.

I've been doing mostly business writing for years. But I really wanted to write for magazines. I had doubts like you. I also had a bunch of people throughout my life tell me I should write -- that my stuff was good. But it had to click for me personally because what others tell you does not matter as much as your personal mindset.

I finally just got 'it'. To fend off the rejection mindset I sent TONS of queries and finished work off -- I figured that there must be a law of averages and if I sent enough work someone would bite. This turned out to be true. I also try to concentrate on the money side rather than the creative side of writing. Because I'd rather be bummed about missing a paycheck than bummed because I think that editors think my writing sucks.

I research the best pubs for my work and when I get assignments I make myself a valuable asset rather than a problem-child. This means I check my emails and cell messages frequently. If an editor needs extra info, a re-write, or a photo I give it to them ASAP. Truthfully I'm not the best writer I ever met. I'm wordy (duh), a bad speller, and I would say more technical then creative. But I don't let editors see this side of me because I can also edit and fit myself into what they want. For most working writers I'd guess that writing is much more about business and just going for it than 'the most amazing' writing.

There are ups and downs in any career or venture but not taking the risk to submit is the biggest issue I've noticed with unpublished writer friends I have. I say take a chance and submit - if you love to write what else is there to do?

Take care
~ Jennifer

Provrb1810meggy
12-17-2006, 05:57 PM
This may be totally wrong, but in my opinion, just polish your work to the best you can make it RIGHT NOW and submit it. What harm can come from it, besides a few rejections? If it's not ready for publication, you've got more experience with the process, and if it is, well, then good job!

If you don't want to send things out, risking that they're not ready for publication at all, you can post them on SYW, which to me, takes as much guts as submitting anything.

Maryn
12-17-2006, 07:19 PM
I second the Share Your Work idea. Nearly everyone who offers feedback is tactful or better, the critique constructive and related to the writing, not the author. (You get to ignore any others.) I've found that seasoned writers receive work-improving tweaks and less accomplished writers get tweaks, instruction, big-picture feedback, and food for thought on fundamental changes which might improve the work.

Plus--and this is a huge plus--in SYW you may hook up with someone who knows your genre and likes your work enough to critique an entire novel, which is no small thing.

Maryn, who agrees it takes some courage to post there, but it's worth it

stormie
12-17-2006, 08:37 PM
You never know if your work is ready to be published. Polish a ms. that you really like or enjoyed writing, take a deep, deep, breath, and send it on its way.

Toothpaste
12-17-2006, 09:39 PM
This might inspire controversy, but I too have asked that question, both as a writer and an actor. What suddenly made me click that possibly I could join the big guns, was when I saw an actor perform, or read a book, that didn't seem too far off talent wise from myself. It's tricky to do that objectively, but since I am notoriously hard on myself I figured if even I thought I could compete in the major leagues, than maybe I was ready. It isn't really sound advice to, "Go and compare yourself to published writers" because a) some writers are just pure genius and you'll never be that fabulous no matter how hard you try, and b) some writers really are terrible and have been published for whatever reasons. Still, if you can see yourself somewhere between, then maybe . . .?

Of course I also agree with all that's been said above. I just think sometimes you get a feeling about it as well.

Judg
12-18-2006, 08:59 PM
It isn't really sound advice to, "Go and compare yourself to published writers" because a) some writers are just pure genius and you'll never be that fabulous no matter how hard you try, and b) some writers really are terrible and have been published for whatever reasons. Still, if you can see yourself somewhere between, then maybe . . .?

Oh, I like that! That's precisely where I see myself, well below genius but better than some stuff that does get published. The former gives me something to aim for, the latter hope that somebody might like what I produce.