jaylake : 20 years. Three novels and over 100 short stories before I got paid for a word. Within five years of that initial sale I’ve sold over 100 shorts, including work to Asimov’s, Realms of Fantasy, and (with specficrider) SCI FICTION, along with Rocket Science in print and book deals with Night Shade and Tor. Read the rest here.
And then read matociquala‘s post about the long journey of what is now titled: Blood and Iron. (Got my copies of the bound galleys for subrights yesterday! Squee…) I really thought she was going to throw the book (in manuscript form) at me when I suggested that rewrite.
And what is the point of my reposting this here? Well… I’ve been to a lot of writers conferences, and I’ve read a lot of queries. And not a week passes in which I have not heard about or read about writers who can’t seem to crack the wall otherwise known as publishing. These stories take various forms and tones. I truly understand that it can be frustrating, particularly that old adage of you need experience to get a job, you need a job to get experience (as applied to publishing: you need writing credits to get a contract, you need a contract to get writing credits). Some of these stories truly pull at the heart-strings: people who are trying with everything they’ve got and just not quite understanding the odds, or still needing more time for their talent to mature, and so forth. A handful of these letters are downright vitriolic or even personally hateful, claiming a conspiracy, or seeming to give the impression that the writer feels they deserve to be published just for submitting their work (regardless of its actual quality). They seem to feel they are entitled to a contract. Let’s make no mistake, though. And let’s skip the sugar-coating. Writing is hard. Getting published is harder. But you’re certainly not going to accomplish it by (a) never finishing anything, or (b) never sending it out. You have to (c) continue to finish things and send them out until your fingers bleed words and you net that first sale. The alternative, of course, is to get lucky like Jay and eBear and have it happen overnight and walk away with that Campbell Award for little to no effort. Wow — that was maybe a teensy bit sarcastic. I guess what I’m saying here is a variation on eBear’s suggestion to “just push.” If it’s really what you want are you going to let a handful (or even a room full) of rejections be all that is standing in your way. They’re stones in the road. Sure, some of them will trip you up, but you’re not going to get anywhere if you don’t pick yourself up, learn something, and keep going.