Professional Obstacles for the Writer
So far we’ve covered Personal and Psychological obstacles authors face. This week we move on to the third P… Professional obstacles.
How do I get noticed? Why do I keep getting rejected? Marketing? How do I do that? This takes so much time. Why bother trying for an agent or publisher? Do I have to go to conventions to make contacts? I just don’t have the time or extra money.
If you think things are expensive now, back in the good ole days writers had to send snail mail submissions with a stamped, self-addressed envelope inside. That is two envelopes, two stamps, and the printer ink just to send out to one agent or publisher. Roughly a dollar each. Now we launch our query into the Interverse and hope for some sort of response.
I’ve formed a resentment for the editor, agent, or publisher who have so little respect for an author’s work that they don’t feel the need to respond unless they want additional material. Even a form email is better than being ignored. It takes its toll on the ego. But, that’s not their problem.
I also reasoned that if they are so insanely busy then they are too busy to give my book the attention it deserves. That may sound like sour grapes but it gave me a sense of satisfaction and closure. We writers need that in order to continue the process.
Many of the professional obstacles are thwarted by research…massive, intensive research. There really are no shortcuts in this department. From how to write in the first place to how to edit your manuscript, and writing query letters, reading is mandatory.
When sifting through the hundreds of agencies and publishers, you need to define the parameters of your search. There is no need to send a Science Fiction/Fantasy novel to an agent that only promotes books on Ancient Mesopotamian Civilizations.
Networking. We sign up for Twitter, Facebook, websites, LinkedIn and endless other social media sites. Mostly for getting the word out about ourselves and our writing. And we are supposed to keep up and contribute to each. Arrrrggghhh!!!! It’s exhausting. Cultivate contacts that get you. Create your tribe. It’s great to gather contacts. Just keep your tribe close. They are the ones who will keep your head in the game.
Then there is the idea writers should attend conventions/writer’s events to learn and network. Most work day jobs and have families. The idea is wonderful. I would love to attend. When you add up the travel expense, hotel, fees, and food, it ain’t cheap, my friends. But if you can get to one…Go! Save up if you have to but enjoy the experience.
My point, although I may have meandered around the block to get to it, is that there are certain obstacles you can’t easily get around. When it comes to agents and publishers, it boils down to research, a great well-edited story, and a sincere hope that the representative didn’t just get a call from her ex-husband’s lawyer. Some obstacles just have to be accepted for what they are. A major pain in the neck.
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But if being a writer is your calling, your need, your obsession, then you deal. Simple as that.