In the same week, I pitched and sold two articles, and got my first two rejection letters for my children’s book. A toast to my success. Yes, success! These are good events.
From the time I could grip a pencil, I have been writing stories. I received my first publishing credit in the newsletter for my dad’s work. I was in the second grade.
My high school English teacher gave us an assignment to write our own obituaries. In mine, I described myself as an “authoress,” a word that only a self-indulgent high school student would use.
Having spent the last year attempting to earn money from writing, I have learned that being a paid writer involves a lot less writing than I hoped for.
The childhood dreamer in me imagined that you simply wrote until someone discovered you, and then spent the rest of your life writing and opening envelopes with checks and fan letters. I did not have the foresight to understand how one goes about being discovered.
A few years ago, I began researching getting my children’s book published. By research, I mean I googled it and read a few articles. From what I gathered, I wrote a query letter introducing my book and mailed the letter along with my manuscript to publishers.
Computer research provided generalized and limited information. As I began talking to authors and digging deeper, I learned about agents, pitches, submission packages, market research, conferences, and a host of other topics I never knew went into publishing a book. I didn’t just have to write a good story. I needed to know how that story fit into today’s market, be able to compare and contrast it to other noteworthy publications, pitch my ability to an agent, work with the agent to determine the right publisher, and somehow get a successful package in the hands of the appropriate editor. Oh, and I can’t forget about my web presence and building a platform for my work.
When do I actually get time to write?
That’s already my problem and I don’t even have a publishing deal. I have stories swirling through my head all the time, tales I want to commemorate for my own clarity. But most days, writing gets put on the back burner. Like most writers, paid and otherwise, life gets in the way.
It sounds very discouraging, and it certainly can be. But I received two rejection letters. Somehow, through all the work, life, and muddling, I got it together enough to mail out packages. I made taking a chance a priority. While I may not have gotten my book published yet, I managed to get someone to give me money to write about subjects that matter to me. Come July, I’ll have two articles in the same magazine. My life could be worse.