by Kaye George
A lot has been said about the difference between a published and an unpublished writer. I’ve come up with a list of things that can be different. These pertain to writers who are published by a publishing house, since anyone can self-publish. Nothing against self-publishing--I’ve done it myself and intend to continue to do so. But some people want the extra boost of a publisher behind them. I’m also one of those.
It takes time to learn the craft. Sometimes the difference can merely be that the published writer has been writing longer and has learned how to polish up the prose. Where to insert hooks, how to pace the action, how to work descriptions and explanations into the text with dialogue or actions.
I’m convinced that there’s a certain amount of luck involved. You have to connect your work with a publisher or agent who is receptive, on that day, at that very time, to what you’re offering. And the publisher or agent hasn’t just accepted a project so similar to yours that he has to turn yours down. But if you keep showing up, you have a better chance at hitting it lucky.
This is so important. You don’t even know that it’s normal to take 10 years of writing before you’re published unless someone tells you. You also don’t know how to fix the glitches in your writing--sometimes don’t even notice they’re there--unless you find a good critique group, or critique partner. You also don’t know who is looking for what kinds of projects unless you buddy up with people who know these things. My solution is to buddy up with everyone in the writing business that I can. You never know who will have good info.
This is the most important. The main difference between a published and an unpublished writer is that the published writer didn’t quit. Here’s a self-serving illustration. I wrote a novel I called SONG OF DEATH. I wrote it and wrote it, then queried the heck out of it. Finally, after many agent rejections, I shelved it and went on to write other novels. A few months ago, I dusted it off and decided that it still sounded pretty good to me. I did another rewrite and submitted it to Barking Rain Press. After about 10 years, that novel was published this week! It’s now called EINE KLEIN MURDER and has been through extensive editing at BRP. If you’d like to check it out, here’s more information on my newest release: http://travelswithkaye.blogspot.com/p/eine-kleine-murder.html.
I’d love to know what’s made the difference for you, if you’ve made it to published author.