Friday, January 8, 2010

When Everyone Succeeds But You...

Lately, I've been surrounded by success. Not mine. Several of my writer friends have recently published, several others have gotten agents. Another few have finished their manuscripts.

I'm happy for them. They've worked hard and their books are really good. As happy as I am for them, part of me feels like a big fluffy failure each time another one of them succeeds. Now this isn't their problem, it's all mine.

I know it's petty. It isn't their fault that I haven't made it, it's mine.

I'm not focused enough on my writing. I break my self-imposed deadlines. I don't submit material much any more and that's why I'm failing.

You can't succeed if you aren't trying your hardest and I'm not trying hard enough.

I've made some half-hearted efforts with my writing. I sent out a few short stories to contests, all rejected. I sent forty-eight poetry submissions last year, all rejected.

Finally I stopped sending writing out. It's hard to believe in yourself when the editors in charge don't agree with your writing's worth. I'm not a horrid writer, I know that. Am I Steinbeck? No, but I'm not Carrot Top either (Okay, he's not a writer but he is odd in a creepy way and not funny at all).

But what I write doesn't seem to impress editors, contest judges, or anyone in charge.

I'm not telling you this to feel sorry for me. I'm doing a great job of that on my own. I'm sharing the experience so other writers know they aren't alone.

It's okay to feel a little lost when everyone seems to have figured out the how's of publishing and you can't even find your pen.

What I need to do is get some impartial person to tell me if there is a weakness in the writing itself. If the writing is solid, I need to target my entries better. Sending submissions out in a scattershot format doesn't work. All I get from random entries is a headache.

Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I need to get off my butt and make a plan. Then, I actually need to follow said plan.

And if that doesn't work, I can always trying sleeping my way to the top.

Men love middle-aged chubby women, right? Right.

Okay, so I need to work hard on the plan because I don't think the sex for success idea will work. Not unless publishers are kinkier than I think.




  1. One recommendation I can give for anyone's consideration is to think outside the box where getting exposure and publishing is considered. Writing contests are an excellent way to not only get exposure but you often will get feedback from the judges and win money.
    Look into your state arts council and see if there are any contests and/or grants for writers. These types of councils generally offer some king of judgment feedback when you enter. They may also offer writing workshops and networking opportunities.
    Have you ever considered self-publishing and even starting your own publishing company? Since you have a connection to writers you could not only publish your own work but offer help to other writers and make a commission off of them.
    There are many ways to get something accomplished if you really want it and are willing to expand your possibilities.
    Sorry for the long post. I should write a blog about it!!!


  2. You should write a blog about

    I'm self-pubbing a book of poetry but that is because the market for poetry is nearly non-existant. It's out in the summer.

    For the most part, I don't consider self-publishing to e publishing. For poetry, it's probably your only choice. But to me, if I have to self-pub my short stories because no magazine or publisher will touch them, then something is wrong with the writing.

    To me to self-publish my stories or book would be giving up on it as non-publishable. This does not apply to local historical accounts or poetry. That's a different kettle of fish.

    I've had form rejections from dozens of contests. I never get anything specific. Either nothing or just no.

    I don't want a grant but I suppose I could look into the feedback aspect. If I managed to get one, I could always turn it down I suppose.

    I have a minor in Creative Writing and I've workshopped for years. I get great feedback from my workshops. I rewrite but am still a non-winner in the publishing game of life. LOL.

    Workshops like my writing. Contests and magazines do not.

    I need to finish my book so I'm trying to concentrate on that. But when you receive so many people saying NO on your writing, it's hard to keep trying.

    I need to start sending out poetry and stories again. Who knows maybe someone won't hate it as much.

  3. The book I'm reading now started as a self-published book - she had umpteen rejections and then found the right publisher. JK Rowling (Harry Potter) was rejected umpteen times! Publishers are a snotty lot! A friend of mine (well actually I walked her dog) now writes scripts for the BBC - she landed that role after a competition.

    You may not have been successful YET but keep plugging away at it. You do have talent. You are funny. I genuinely like your writing (and I can be a bit lazy reading some people's work) - but I like reading your work.

    Try this (Make a choice, you just decide, what's it's gonna be, who you're gonna be...) or this

  4. After going to dozens of meetings with publishers and working for a few on the non-fiction side, self-publishing is a mixed bag.

    Everyone agrees that for local history, how-to books, even occasssionaly business titles, and poetry that self-pub is acceptable.

    On the straight fiction scene, there are rumors that mainstream publishers are less interested in a writer with a self-pub background because they see it as thumbing their nose at them.

    However there are exceptions to that rule. But those are exceptions. As a rule, most self-pubbed bokos sell fewer than 500 copies (if you're lucky). Many sell less than 50. It's all dependent on the author and the content.

    Rowling did have a crap load of rejections and I love her books. She is at least 70% responsible for the rebirth of literature for the 10 to 16 year old crowd.

    She finally got picked up by a small publisher and then her book was optioned by a larger publisher when it sold. But that really isn't self pub.

    Overall, I'm not saying no on self-pub but it would never be my first choice. And many publishers are getting into the act if you look at Harlequin's new division. But it is still not as respected as being published with a mainstream publishing company.

    To me, it wouldn't feel like I had really been published. Maybe it's a me thing.

    But I am publishing a small book of poetry this summer through self-pub. No publisher is lining up to buy new poetry

    I'm still figuring out a marketing plan for it.


  5. Hey Tirz,

    Don't worry, it all, unfortunately, just takes time.

    While all of our TNBW buddies are signing book deals and hiring agents, it makes me happy and gives me a little hope. I try to think of it like standing in a LOOOOOOOOOng line of determined fellow writers. Eventually, if we stick it out, we should all get our chance at the front of the line. :)

  6. Hey, I have been reading those forum comments too. And, I can understand what you're feeling. But, I think we need to keep plugging along. We'll all get there in the end. Well, hopefully I will. I know Jane Austen died penniless... although, that's not much of a comfort to me.


  7. Hi Tirz,

    So many aspects to this subject. I've been there too, receiving countless rejections. I've stopped sending things out before because it's so discouraging. Poetry is particularly tough, while publications come along now and then, unless you're already famous the acceptance rate is typically abysmal. But acceptances are not always based on the quality of work. Many other factors exist. (Poets the publishers know, poets whose name they want on their journal, huge backlogs of already accepted material.)
    Publishing a poetry journal for years gave me some appreciation for this, and I don't rejection as seriously as I once did.
    Stories and prose in general are different and a much better market than poetry. (as you obviously know) All the same, short stories are a shrinking market and it's tough too. You clearly believe in your work enough to keep at it. Just keep doing everything you can and you'll get there. You just need to reach the right person on the right day at the right time.
    And as far as sleeping your way to the top, it's possible to do in certain MFA programs. (kidding)

  8. I was just having a whiny

    Thanks for the support even if I whine.



  9. Love you! Your writing is great! Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog, and now I have to follow you. I have surrounded myself with people that just blog for fun, and it will be interesting to follow a blog that is about being published. You will do it.

  10. You're a vivid and distict voice, Tirz. Somebody will bite.

    But you're right: you have to work for it.

    So do I!!

    Corra :)

    from the desk of a writer