To continue this theme, I’m going to write about determination.
I frequently describe writing as a football game of sorts, a special kind of football game.
You as the writer get to be the quarterback. In our game of football the writer/quarterback is also leading a really tight and seasoned offense. Isn’t every writer a master of their craft making precision/machine like use of all the resources available to them?
In our football game we’re going to say that is just the case. After all, it could be fantasy we’re writing.
Of course there has to be a defense. Let’s just say they’re good, the best ever against the run and the pass. It’s also been almost 25 games since they allowed a score of any kind.
Your team is on their own 30 yard line and has to score in under 2 minutes. A touchdown.
Not too bad, huh?
Oh, I forgot, in this special game the defense has 22 players instead of the normal 11. The crowd? Well, they’re not too friendly. They’re throwing things at you and just for fun it’s raining.
See, a special game. Excuse me, I forgot to mention, everyone on your team is blindfolded.
So, all you have to do is score and your home free.
In publishing today for the new, unknown author, going from obscurity to being able to sustain yourself with your passion can be like scoring in the football game I describe above.
Not impossible, but certainly not the easiest thing you’ll ever do. So if you’re going to score, it will take determination and lots of it.
That simply is how it is with writing. If you’re motivated and the least bit savvy, you can get your novel written and published. There are a variety of options available today that simply previously didn’t exist in the past that ease the prospect of publishing beyond that of the traditional. No longer is the process of publishing the obstacle it once was.
However, getting the word out about your novel is another proposition entirely. Most successful independent authors approach things one sale at a time. Sure that’s slow, but as long as you keep moving the ball forward, you will find yourself closer to the end zone with every book sale.
Therein is where the determination comes in.
The obstacles facing a writer, even a writer who has managed to publish a great book, can be overwhelming. For many it is enough to bring them to a grinding halt.
Understanding determination can be the most valuable tool you have in a situation like this. Determination means always asking what you can do to take a step forward and then another and another after that. Determination means being willing to make the wrong decision from time to time. It also means learning from your mistakes and only making the same mistake once.
Determination means not being crushed when you have your expectations raised to never before contemplated lofty heights only to unexpectedly fall back to the ground.
I know a writer who has a book out with a small publisher. The reviews are excellent and people are buying it, but he is still unknown and is having trouble breaking to a larger audience. His book has even won some awards.
He called me recently to say he had received an unsolicited email from a nationally televised morning show on a major cable network indicating an interest in his appearing on the show.
I thought I had lost him. He was understandably off the chart elated. I was happy for him.
The next day I received another call from him and in a matter of moments I realized I was talking to a different person. Turns out the show, while interested in his appearing, also wanted a “pre-production fee” of several thousand dollars. While I wanted to tell him that he should be quite careful of paying money to anyone in a situation like that as it reeked of a scam, I refrained not wanting to worsen things.
Turns out he was mostly mad at himself at getting so excited before learning all of the facts. Turns out he was well aware that there are a lot of wolves in sheep’s clothing. Particularly when it comes to people looking to exploit writers – seems we’ve been an easy mark in the past.
Never the less my friend emerged even more determined to make his book a success. His approach has been that if came to the attention of one person then if he continues he will likely come to the attention of another and another.
The goal is to constantly evaluate where you are in the process and always look to move yourself one step forward. This may mean one more sale or it may mean one more novel published. It may also mean one more rejection.
Set goals and work towards them. Don’t be afraid to adjust them either – and by adjust I mean up or down. Be realistic, but move forward.
Be determined. If you keep wanting something hard enough, long enough, perhaps karma will shine on you and reward your efforts. Either that or people will realize that you actually have a really great book and will flock to you get a copy of their very own.