Waiting, wishing, and hoping

Posted by Patrice Wilton | 7:39 AM | 22 comments »

Good morning everyone,
Today I'm blogging on writing through the dumps, when you feel that you're on hold, waiting, waiting, still hanging on to hope that something good will happen, your last book will be the one, and all that you've dreamed of will soon be yours. You walk in the door each day and the first thing you look for is the blinking light on the phone. Ah, you have a message. Before you take off your shoes, or go to the little girl's room, you hit the message button, wondering if this could be "the call" from your agent, or an editor has just finished reading your wonderful piece of work and wants to buy it right now before it goes to auction.
Okay, I know as writers we all have different expectations, but when I started out 20 years ago, I only had one. I wanted to be published and make people smile, and give them the same pleasure that I experiece when I read a good story. To me, being published meant and still does, being able to walk into a bookstore, see your book sitting there on the shelves next to all the other truly gifted writers who dreamed the dream and achieved their goal. It never meant reading a book on a computer, or trying to market it yourself on-line.
I have two books published with E-Pubs, and another one under contract, and yes, I am very happy about this, and feel grateful that my books will be read, but for me, if that's all there is, it isn't enough. Writing is too hard, it takes a great deal of time, effort, research, planning, and talent and dedication to create one single book, little alone, book after book, year after year.
This business is getting tougher, and it was always an extremely difficult business, now nearly impossible, and yet, some newbies still make it, and it's so hard to give up on something you've wanted for so long, and fulfills you. So while I'm waiting, I still plug along. No sense of urgency, but if I can manage five pages a day, or most days, then I do, I keep moving forward, trying to stay mentally strong and believe that one day my efforts will be rewarded.
We writers should not be writing for free. It is a job like everything else. If we do it as a hobby, then yes, hobbies don't make money, but if we devote ourself to the craft, if we do all the write stuff, networking, workshops, conferences, and put our money behind ourselves to put out the very best work we can, then yes, there should be some financial compensation.
That's my take. What's yours?

22 comments

  1. Joanne // February 27, 2011 at 9:12 AM  

    Patrice,
    My take is exactly your take on this writing business. I've often told my dh that I'd need to be paid one million dollars for my manuscripts, because I've probably logged in about a million hours on each.

  2. heather graham // February 27, 2011 at 9:40 AM  

    Patrice, just remember that the world is changing--your book out now in E is the same direction that so many books are going, for writers who have been out there a long time. So, ahha! In my mind the epublishers who will also do print on demand--because we do love books--will be ahead of the game!

  3. Nightingale // February 27, 2011 at 10:31 AM  

    Patrice, as I read, I felt you were reading my mind. I am epubbed too, but I want that book in my hand. I don't have an agent but I still rush for the phone or religiously check my email box. Here's hoping one day both our dreams come true.

  4. Traci // February 27, 2011 at 10:41 AM  

    Patrice, darling friend, valued weekly critique partner, talented author and gifted story teller - it is tough, but you are doing what you love. I know how hard you work, and how much of your heart, soul and tears go into each manuscript. You are doing everything in your power to reach the goals you've set - now? Relax and enjoy the journey! Congratulations on your newest contract!!!

  5. Autumn Jordon // February 27, 2011 at 11:08 AM  

    Patrice,

    I'm excited to be an author at this time. It's like being a pilot watching the first space caspule take off. A whole new world is opening to us and authors are able to spread their wings beyond their wildest dreams. We're also capable of reaching more readers than authors before us.

    Writing is only a hobby if you let it be a hobby. Are we all going to be the next best thing? No. But was that your dream to begin with?
    It wasn't mine. I wanted the same thing you did when dreaming of being an author. To make people happy with my words. I've done it and I'm going to continue on doing so.

    You wrote a beautiful, heart-felt post. You've prompt emotions. You are good.

    Let's get to work. WINK.

  6. Michael Meeske // February 27, 2011 at 11:14 AM  

    Patrice, you wrote exactly how I've been feeling lately. I guess I've always wanted that NYC validation - and maybe, just maybe, I have to let that go, or at least modify the expectation. We sit, we write, we think our books are great and yet the validation never seems to be enough. I get the thinking - boy do I - about the whole e-pub thing. But, the publishing world is changing and we have to make the best of it. After all the rejections I got on my latest manuscript I submitted to Samhain. A Samhain author recently hit the NYTs best seller list. So, it can be done. But the way I dreamed the dream - the cozy bookstore, the book shining out from the shelves - doesn't seem to be happening the way I pictured it. So, I recently made a decision to, as hard as it is, and as Traci says, "enjoy the journey." Difficult, yes, but we are facing the brave new world of publishing. The stakes have changed dramatically. I wish us all the best with all my heart.

  7. Allison Chase // February 27, 2011 at 11:38 AM  

    Patrice, even though I am published by a NY publisher, I still whole-heartedly agree with how you're feeling. Because the thing is, once you attain one part of your dream, you realize it's only the beginning of the journey. This is a very tough business and often there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason behind who really makes it and who doesn't, because I've known some wonderfully talented authors who have had to start over. We work so hard, put our hearts into our stories, but we have little or no control over whose books get snatched up by readers. It can be so frustrating. That's why you've got to truly love writing, have a burning passion to write, in order to keep going. You have to be the kind of person who can't imagine NOT writing. At RWA this summer I heard the wonderful Sharon Sala say something that really helped my outlook. I'm totally paraphrasing, but she basically said, "Whenever you're feeling envious of someone else's success, just remember that their path is not your path. Yours will be different, but not necessarily any less satisfying in the end."

  8. Barbara Monajem // February 27, 2011 at 11:49 AM  

    What Allison said. I'm also pub'd by NY, in both paperback and ebook, and like many pub'd writers, I have no idea what to expect next -- but I can't imagine NOT writing. It's what I do.

  9. icsnow // February 27, 2011 at 11:58 AM  

    Writing is something you have to do, not something you can play around with. At last count, I have 23 novels and 2 novella out there with 3 more just contracted and I'm now struggling with the next one. I get good reviews but I don't ever expect to see my name up there with Stephen King or JD Robb...it should happen! Nevertheless, my books are read and, for the most part, enjoyed, and in the long run, that's what I want.

  10. Patrice // February 27, 2011 at 12:00 PM  

    Joanne - thanks for commenting, and yes about a million would compensate for 20 years of hard work.

    Heather - so nice of you to comment, and yes, the world is changing, and we just have to deal with it! Thank you for your support.

    Linda - glad you feel the same, but I hope we snap out of it soon. Good luck with your dreams and mine.

  11. Patrice // February 27, 2011 at 12:03 PM  

    Traci, thank you for all the kind words, and your years of emotional support, and sharing the pain when another disappointment comes in. We are going to make it - or die trying.

  12. Patrice // February 27, 2011 at 12:05 PM  

    Autumn,
    I love your attitude. You are the pilot of your own course. But oh, bring back the bookstores, and let the publishing houses do the marketing. That's not what I signed up for. LOL

  13. Patrice // February 27, 2011 at 12:07 PM  

    Michael,
    Nice to see you here, and I loved your comments about the cosy bookstores, and the dreams of old. It's hard to keep going, but harder to quit. We gotta keep putting one foot in front of another and hope for the best.

  14. Patrice // February 27, 2011 at 12:09 PM  

    Allison,
    Loved your comments,but so far I don't care too much about my path, I'd rather be on someone elses! LOL.

  15. Patrice // February 27, 2011 at 12:11 PM  

    Barbara - it's a confusing time, but at least you've made it with two books. NY baby - that's all I want. Once in my lifetime.

    ICSnow - you totally rock. Look at all your achievements. You've kept your dream alive.

  16. Mary Ricksen // February 27, 2011 at 12:23 PM  

    I think it never ends Patrice. Look at authors who you haven't heard from for ages. They have to do the same thing to make a comeback. It's just part of the price we pay for trying!!!

  17. Joyce Henderson // February 27, 2011 at 3:05 PM  

    What everyone said. I say that because everyone has a different perspective. It is after all, about "us," that's me, me, me!
    After all the work we put into our work, we deserve to think about "me" first. And I don't know an author who doesn't. Sure, we help each other, but you know in the long run my helping hand comes back to me tenfold.

  18. Mary Marvella // February 27, 2011 at 3:56 PM  

    Afternoon, Patrice, I m sooooooo with you! I am ready to self-publish a couple of books of my heart that I am sure won't make the New York publisher route.I have been told the writing is old fashioned, well, I love to read old fashioned books and I know women who are disappointed that they can't find the books they love. (FYI, there is hot sex in them.)

  19. Jan Washburn // February 27, 2011 at 7:34 PM  

    Patrice - I agree with every word you said. But I write because I love to write. Take joy in the writing and if success comes, it's all gravy.

  20. J.L. Murphey // February 27, 2011 at 9:12 PM  

    Patrice,
    I also decided to e-publish this year after being in the business for more than 30 years. Like others have said...it's the new and growing trend.

    Even when I was with the big houses, marketing and promoting your novels was mostly do-it-yourself. Of course you hire a publicist, but most royalty deals are not that lucrative. Mine are pin money, and what most authors do not understand is the fees that are taken out by the agent, house, and the illustrator,and everyone else who has their hands out including Uncle Sam leaves very little of a semi yearly royalty check. With E-publishing and POD, the gross profits are yours and Uncle Sam's. A big difference in the cut.

    Honey, you keep on plugging away. When that waiting and waiting gets old, you keep on writing because there is a story that needs telling and only you can tell it.

  21. Tamara LeBlanc // February 28, 2011 at 10:29 AM  

    Patrice,
    I agree with Autumn. We are living in a changing world, and though many book stores are closing, there is still a brilliant future of exciting author opportunities out there.
    I am also e-published. And I feel like I am at the forefront of something big. I haven't made a million dollars off my book yet...um, not even close, but I do know one thing. I've gotten email after email, Tweet after Tweet, and review after review that my book is not only well written, but thoroughly enjoyed. I've made people smile. To me, that is the best compliment ever!!! A reader enjoyed my book so much that it made them smile, and want more.
    Now, whether we are E, Indie, or print published, isn't that the main goal?
    I won't lie, I'd love to support my family with my writing alone. The market is tough, I know. But us E-pubs work just as hard as any other author. We still have to struggle through writing a story, we still must submit over and over until someone sees the beauty in our words, we still have to go through edits, and cover art, and contracts. We still have to market and network.
    Your e-books are just as valid as any print book.
    And I promise you, they are no less enjoyed either.
    Be proud of your work, no matter the format, because in the end, the only thing that matters is the joy you bring to the readers:)
    Have a lovely day,
    Tamara

  22. Beth Trissel // March 1, 2011 at 8:33 PM  

    Excellent post, Patrice. I write because it's what I do, a big part of who I am. I want to share my stories, no matter what form it comes out in.