Wednesday, June 6, 2012

IWSG - Realizing the Dream



It’s the first Wednesday of the month.

I’m not s big fan of reality TV, but I do love to watch shows where ordinary folks strive to make their dreams come true.  My favorite is So You Think You Can Dance.  While I’m sure there is an inherent component involved, dancing is not like singing.  More than a talent, dancing requires skill.  To be good, you have to work at it, ad nauseum.  So when a dancer finally attains his or her dream, you know years of difficult physical labor have been applied.


I love those moments when a contestant performs flawlessly.  While the crowd roars, the dancer’s eyes fill with tears and she raises her hands to her mouth, shaking her head in disbelief.  That’s a moment of pure joy, of great accomplishment.  Whenever I witnessed one of those moments, I would cry and vow to myself that I would have a moment just like that.

Of course, I’m not a dancer.  I’m a writer, and as such, I strive to be published.  That’s my dream.  Many of you know how difficult this journey can be.  With the industry in upheaval, and the gatekeepers more rigid than ever, it seems an impossible feat, especially for a debut author.  But I’m here to tell you that while it is hard and takes a lot of work, it’s not impossible. 


There are many paths to publication, and I think it’s in every writer’s best interest to understand and consider each and every avenue.  Limiting yourself to only one route diminishes your potential for success.  You have to be willing to not only explore each boulevard and byway, you must also be willing to accept them as credible sources of publication.  Dinosaurs became extinct for a reason.  Their world imploded.  Other forms of life proved more adaptive and therefore viable. 

That’s my message: be adaptive.  Know, understand, and consider all your options and opportunities.  And don’t look down your nose at any one as being less effective or acceptable.  Ayn Rand once said, “The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity.”  I don’t think the hard part is knowing which rung is best, but rather accepting each rung as a possibility. 



Which paths to publication have you considered?
Traditional?  Only the Big 6?  A small press?  Self-publishing?

                       

56 comments:

otin said...

Well, I'm pretty sure the big six is unrealistic at this point, and I've turned down two E publishing offers.

I'd like a traditional deal, but I would be okay with a small press. Self publishing would be my last resort.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for reminding us to consider all options. That's great advice.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I used to love SYTYCD Canada (which was unfortunately cancelled last year due to cost). It was the inspiration behind my wip.

I'm still only interested in the traditional route right now. Because I write YA, if I self published, it would limit the access teens have to my books. They still aren't big users of ebooks, though that is changing.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

And everyone's path is different! We should be fortunate there are so many opportunities.

Michael Abayomi said...

That's the real beauty of the times we're living. The choices. For me, right now, self publishing is where it's at. But I still have faith in traditional publishing yet, and would be more than willing to put some of my future work through the system, for the right kinda terms of course. Thank God for choices.

michelle said...

Modern writers are fortunate that there are so many avenues available... thanks for the reminder to consider all options.
Visiting from IWSG.

Lisa Regan said...

"I don’t think the hard part is knowing which rung is best, but rather accepting each rung as a possibility."

THAT is awesome!!!!!! So very, very, very true. I think you're so right. We really don't live in a one size fits all world, not everything is a good fit for everyone. We need to be willing to take leaps of faith. I love that saying: Leap and the net will appear.

TL Conway said...

First, I LOVE SYTYCD. Love it.

Second, I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to stop by last week and tell you HOORAY for your cover reveal! Looks wonderful, congrats!

Finally, I really like the optimism here. There is more than one way to reach our dreams. Sometimes, it just requires lifting our heads up, taking off the blinders, and seeing what's out there.

Eva Gallant said...

I've chosen to self-publish on Kindle and Nook. At my age I may not live long enough to get an offer from a traditional publisher!

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I LOVE SYTYCD! And you are right - it is work, work, work. I need to remember this more often.

Susan Roebuck said...

The fact there are options is good! I've been lucky enough to be published with two different small presses...I wouldn't mind one of the Big Six...but I am realistic! Two years ago I'd have said no to self-publishing but now I'm in two minds about it....

Matthew MacNish said...

I'm still undecided. Taking a wait and see approach, I guess.

Cassie Mae said...

I've got it all planned out. I'm going to write the next Harry Potter and become a millionaire.

And if that doesn't work out, I've got a back up plan. ;)

Jennifer Hillier said...

"Be adaptive" - excellent advice.

I naively assumed writing my second book would be as awesome an experience as writing my first, but I was wrong. It's a different thing, writing another book when your debut has just come out and the reviews are pouring in. Plus now there's a deadline just to finish a decent draft, and so many more revisions. Throw that on top of a huge international move and personal crap going on behind the scenes... learning to adapt was the only way to get through it.

Great post!

LindaK said...

Brilliant - I couldn't agree more! Moving with the times is thrilling and must be done!

Lynn Proctor said...

life is better when we have some options but not too many to confuse

Annalisa Crawford said...

I always knew the Big 6 wouldn't be interested in my work - I just don't write the right stuff - so it was small press all the way for me. I've ended up small press digital.

Nicky Wells said...

Great post, and I love your pragmatic and realistic attitude! My opinion is: if you spin enough wheels and don't leave any stone unturned (read: no opportunity un-tried) you will eventually find the right way. I also believe that 'the right way' differs for everyone. There are hugely successful self-published authors out there. There are barely visible 'traditional' authors out there. And the other way round, with an endless spectrum in between. Some authors do a bit of both, using a different strategy for different books. I think you're right, Nancy, that the big step is 'getting over yourself' and having a try, at whatever way is feasible at any given time.

Plenty of food for thought and great advice, as always. X

Callie Leuck said...

Man! I haven't considered *anything* yet! I'm not at that stage yet. But I guess I find the Big 6 appealing (I mean, how glamorous does that sound?) but I've heard very good things about small presses. I think I'd want to work with a publisher, although I'd consider indie.

Mel Chesley said...

On the road to publication, all paths were considered to get to the goal. I waxed and waned worse than the moon to figure out which would be the best path for me. In the end, I gave finding a publisher one last shot and hit the target. While most people wouldn't have gone with a small, independent publisher like this, I find it is a better fit for me overall for lots of reasons. I've built a trust with the owner already through the internet and was asked to submit. So I did.

Liza said...

Wow! So well written, and helpful food for thought. Thank you!

L.G.Smith said...

Oh, yes! That's the same reaction I had when I first saw Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent. I thought, wow, she's really going for it, even though she's decades older than the other contestants. And she blew them out of the water. Loved, loved, loved it.

And I have to admit I've changed my tune on self-publishing. I'm much more open to it than I was when I first started my blog. When I finish this current WIP, I'm prepared to explore all my options. :)

jamieayres said...

Wow, this post couldn't come at a better time, Nancy!! I have my manuscript with two of the big and then a small press, and an independent publisher that's more medium sized. I've only heard from the small press. For the past 3 yrs since I started this crazy journey, I've never even dreamed of submitting outside of the big 6 b/c I thought that's where my validation needs to come from. NOw you're so right, the game is changing and it's time we do, too:) Congrats again on your success!!

Lauren said...

I've thought about self-publishing, but I'm still unsure. You're right, being adaptive is a sure way to survive. :)

Mr. Opinion said...

I've considered self-publishing because I'm a bit afraid of turning in a transcript and ending up being rejected.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I have self-published using a vanity-publishing company that provided editorial services. I have published traditionally with a small, independent company. And I will soon be published by a small imprint within a huge publishing giant. What's next for me? I have no idea!

Jennee Thompson said...

This is just the post I needed to read today! Thank you! I've been rethinking everything I've previously thought lately and honestly...it's overwhelming.

Honey said...

You make a good point. I'm trying traditional first but I'm open to other ways.

Lynda R Young said...

I'm actually in a topsy turvy state at the moment because there are sooo many options. I've not decided which way to go yet. They are all valid options.

jp said...

Life would be a hell of a lot easier if we knew which doors to knock on

klahanie said...

Hi Nancy,
You are a 'dancer'. You let the thoughts dance in your mind and then your fingers dance merrily away on the keyboard and the 'dance' becomes words of passion and magic :)
And yes, be adaptive. With your adaptive abilities the dream you crave, can be a reality.
And do not get me started on 'reality' TV shows. Although you would be a great contestant on my show, "Blogger's Got Talent".
Take care, Nancy and happy, fulfilling writing.
Gary

Kelley Lynn said...

At first I thought my path was get an agent, then see what happens.

Now I'm thinking perhaps I might take two paths at once? Maybe? I don't know. Definitely not roadblocking any of them :)

Carrie Butler said...

I love that quote! I wish I had it on a plaque somewhere. :D

Chuck said...

One day I will need to conider the options you mention. Nice post about it! I like the Americas Got Talent now that Howard Stern in one of the judges...he is really great at it.

tfwalsh said...

There are so many options out there, and I'm not 100% of which direction to go either... I would love to work with the big 6, but I also realize how difficult it is to break into.

Krista McLaughlin said...

I'd like to be traditionally published, but I think that self-publishing isn't bad. I've read a lot of amazing books that are self-published, but also some terrible ones. I would work hard at either.

Be flexible. That's great advice! Take it one day at a time and one moment at a time. :)

Mark Koopmans said...

Aloha Nance,

I tried selling myself, and even bought a dance pole to improve my thighs, but still no one wanted to buy my writing....

(OH my... you meant the Big *six* not the Big *sex*)

OK, everybody, keep moving, the show's over... c'mon now...

Anyhow, my point is I have no issues going down any pub. road...

And although I will *never* own a Kindle, I did stay at a Comfort Inn last night, so I'm keeping all options on the table :)

Heather M. Gardner said...

Well said.
I'm going to just try my best and see what happens.
I hope your moment stays with you forever!
Heather

Tara Tyler said...

tough decisions, perseverence, making ourselves heard, why do we do this again? ha!

Kittie Howard said...

I'm strictly into e-publishing. Actually Ayn Rand pushed me in that direction but not in the expected way. For a long time, I adored her ladder quote, but when I learned she had more emotional baggage than a luggage store, I thought, hmmm, I've got to make my own opportunity, not wait for somebody else's ladder to appear. Once I got that into my head, so many paths opened for so much (not just writing).

Eve said...

Hey Nancy!! I absolutely LOVE So You Think You Can Dance!! My favourite show...so far with this seasons auditions I'm loving Hampton Williams and Stepheon Stewart..there are a bunch of others whose names I can't remember..they are soooo good...anyways, yes, to be published! I have not really thought seriously about that for myself..I don't know how many people would actually want to pay to read something I wrote, and if they did I think I'd fall over from the shock! I do have a friend who is working on her second novel..her first, "The Greenwich List" (http://asteroidpublishing.ca/book/16/The_Greenwich_List), was published as an ebook and now, apparantley it's coming out as an actual book,(I mean, a book you can hold! lol!)
I know you're right, we should definatley not look down our noses at uncoventional methods of publishing..I think in the future those will overtake traditional publishing as the norm.
Great post Nancy! Thank you!

Insomniac #4 said...

My ultimate goal is a major publisher, but who knows what the industry will look like by the time my novel is ready. Self-publishing would be a satisfactory last resort, only because I am terrible at marketing and self-promotion. I know as much about social media platforms as I know about the craft of writing--not much. So maybe a small press is ideal for me: not as daunting as the big six, and not completely dependent on my ability to self-promote.

As Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) said in Moneyball: "Adapt or die." I sure hope I can keep my head on a swivel once the time comes.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I so agree! There are so many ways to publication. During the classes I teach, I often encounter writers that have no idea. Those that think the only way is with an agent just make me want to beat my head on the wall. There are other options! And BTW, that's the most difficult path of all.

Juliana L. Brandt said...

I often compare writing to dancing, or athletics of any kind. Athletes work so hard to make their abilities seem effortless. We have to do that, too! Great reminder on staying adaptable. I think that's incredibly important, especially in how publishing has turned these last years :)

The Golden Eagle said...

I've yet to revise and edit a novel to a publication-ready state, but once that happens, I don't intend to not consider any of those publication routes. Sure, I think traditional publishing would be nice, but only looking at that would probably be a mistake.

James Anderson said...

I would prefer to go the traditional route, however I am not opposed at all to self-publishing. It is all a matter of marketing yourself. I like the idea of taking each rung, one at a time.

Michael Pierce said...

My wife and I have watched So You Think You Can dance for years. I enjoy shows that have people working hard to pursue their dreams. I especially like it when a contestant doesn't quite make it, and you see him/her again the next season, refusing to give up. That motivates me. Great post. :)

Catherine Stine said...

I LOOOOVE So You Think You Can Dance!
It's so creative and full of energy and life. And I think some of the choreographers are the best around.
On another note, I've published both ways: indie and traditionally. The distribution is good with a legacy pubber, but the power to craft your own book without pressure from marketing is wonderful. I'm also an illustrator and Fireseed One, my indie scifi thriller has nine of my own illustrations in it. I am working on a sequel, and I also would like more books placed with a legacy pubber. Not sure it needs to be either/or these days. Good luck in your quest.

Margo Kelly said...

Great post! There are SO MANY choices today. But ... isn't that better than no choices at all? :)

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

We've attended 3 funerals this week, and consequently, I've been thinking about my life and what I hope to accomplish. I love the quote. I think it's so poignant. I'm published now, both self-published and traditional, but I still remember how raw it felt needing to be published. I don't watch SYTYCD, but I understand yearning. I'm still trying to figure out life. Being published isn't how I thought it would be. Don't want to go back though. LOL.

Great post, Nancy. Got me thinking.

unikorna said...

Now that you ask...I'd feel very much obliged if you did me the honor of offering a most valuable advice regarding my last blog post (it's about a fantasy short story I'm writing), if you have the time and the disposition , thank you Nancy :).

Andrea Teagan said...

I love watching dancing, it is so beautiful and fluid, captivating and emotional, and I loved your advice on staying adaptive.

Great post! I am a new follower :)

Andrea

Peggy Eddleman said...

I watched a few episodes of SYTYCD last night! I haven't in a really long time, and I'd forgotten how much I love it!

EXCELLENT advice to consider all rungs! Sometimes the path you set out for doesn't end up being the right one. But just as important is to KEEP TRYING!

Brent Wescott said...

I'm being a little facetious here, but I think there should be one path so that everyone is one the same footing and no one "lucks" into publication. But that wouldn't be much fun, then, would it? :)

Donna B. McNicol said...

Better late than never (from IWSG). Great post from another HUGE SYTYCD fan....

Brigid Daull Brockway said...

Thanks for the advice. It's neat how e-books have begun to change attitudes about self-publishing. As a reader, my choices aren't dictated by whether some faceless publisher thinks I'll like something.
Seeing how my friends have done with self-publishing, I'm a lot more likely to pursue self-publishing when I finish my own novel. It just seems so much more expedient.