Everyone has to start somewhere. That’s what people say to get you to take the job with less pay, or to do something that you feel might be beneath you. However, sometimes starting somewhere below the top can be the right spot.
Today’s insight comes from my author persona. As the president of Maine Romance Writers, I talk to a lot of writers who want to be published and they want to make it big time with a six figure advance with a major publisher.
Who doesn’t want that? If you’re going to dream, dream big. Reality: Very few people make it to the top without starting at the bottom of the mountain.
Sure Stephanie Meyers, who wrote the Twilight books, hit it big her first time, but that is rare. Keep the dream, but aim for attainable.
For a new author there is much to learn. About writing, about editing, about submitting. Expect to hear “no” a lot.
Stephen King heard “no” enough times to wallpaper his bathroom with the rejection letters. Most likely you will hear it too. It is discouraging, but there are alternatives. There are many medium sized publishers and small e-publishers (who only sell online). These types of companies are great training grounds for new authors. Learning to work with an editor is an invaluable experience. Feeling like you’re “in” is a great sense of accomplishment. Hearing “yes” we want you can take a dictionary-sized rejection pile and make you feel like Stephen King.
Published is published. A year ago my book was released by a smallish press in New Jersey. The publisher is a tough business woman who was constantly tweaking her business model and because I was “in” I saw some of what was happening. I took a chance selling my book to Lyrical Press. I could have waited for Harlequin to come calling, but I could and probably would be still waiting. On January 1, the publisher of Lyrical made an announcement that Lyrical Press had been acquired by Kensington, which is one of the big six publishers of romance. Suddenly my little press was playing with the big boys. I took a chance and now the opportunities are endless.
Don’t be afraid to take a chance on a lesser dream. You don’t know where it will lead you.
- Michelle Libby