2011 has been a great year for me. I have a good, solid novel manuscript in the hands of a terrific agent, I have recently finished the manuscript for Postcards From Ireland and, In June, I self-published More Postcards From Across the Pond, just to see if I could do it. To accomplish this latter feat, I read Catherine Ryan Howard’s fine book, Self Printed and followed the model therein.
The results were most pleasing; it is a great looking book and has received great reviews, most of which called it better than the original, which was professionally published. That was gratifying, but overall it is an experience I hope never to repeat.
I have talked before about my method for becoming successful at something; namely, find someone who is successfully doing what you want to do and do what they are doing. I have done this over the years with good results, and I thought I was on to something when I began following Catherine’s blueprint. But when it was over, I realized I was following the path for being a successful entrepreneur when I actually wanted to be a successful writer.
Now, being a successful entrepreneur is all well and good, and to be a successful writer, you have to have a little of that entrepreneurial spirit in you, but if your goal is to be a published writer, which is what mine is, then you need to follow the examples of other published writers. Whether they have the entrepreneurial spirit or not, I expect Stephen King and Janet Evanovich enter “Writer” in the “What is your occupation” box, not “Entrepreneur.”
So I have singled out one or two writers (not Stephen or Janet) who I would like to emulate and have, as a sort of 2012 New Year’s Resolution, proposed to follow their methodology.
Here are some commonalities I have found among the professional, published writers I have chosen as templates for success:
- They don’t tend to blog about writing. Instead, they write. Their blog, if they have one, is to keep their fans up to speed on their latest work/appearances/successes, not to talk (or obsess) about how/why/when they write.
- They don’t write for free. A guest post on a blog, sure, but a steady gig in an on-line (for profit) magazine that pays you in “exposure,” no.
- They write, they ask for peer review, they rewrite, they revise, they edit, they submit, and start again.
- They don’t self-publish; that would make them self-published writers, not published writers, and that is what I am aiming for.
I am not saying I’ll never self-publish again—I expect I will—but I’m just saying I don’t want to, not at this point. I wish all the self-publishers the best of luck, but I’m going to follow the points listed above, and go on searching for a publisher.