Stars In Your Eyes

Publication is the goal for most unpublished aspiring writers. It certainly has been for me. And all the advice for aspiring writers says the same thing: Write. Finish. Polish. Send out. Rinse and repeat.

That is good advice. I still say, follow it.

As you know if you’ve been reading my blog here, I have lately had a great revelation, however, which every author doubtless goes through upon being published in any form. That is the realization that this is a career. That publication is not the grail; it is the door, and the path on the other side is both hard work and unending. (Hooray for it being unending! Think what it would be like if it ended.)

A further epiphany is pending. What I’m suddenly realizing is that it’s not just a career in writing that I’m looking at, but a career in marketing. I’ve been running around frantically trying to find someone to tell me that it’s not true, that it might be true in epublishing but traditional print houses do all the marketing and all the author has to do is meet deadlines and show up for promotional activities.

Nope.

It’s not a dealbreaker. It can’t be; I’m as committed to this now as I to motherhood. Once you’re pregnant, your life has changed, whatever the choices ahead of you might turn out to be.

Anyway, what I started to say was this: apparently, if I truly believe I have a career in writing ahead of me, then publishing whatever I write isn’t necessarily the best way to look at it. One needs a career plan, a brand, a niche, a genre choice, a buzz, etcetera.

However, I don’t want to become the kind of person who writes to order instead of where desire leads. I want to write what comes to me, the stories my characters show up and start telling. To reject that and instead write according to formula would be to sell myself. To be no longer lover, but whore. All my metaphors seem to have gone sexual, sorry.

There’s a compromise pathway in there someplace. I just have to find it. This needs more thought.

But my main point was meant to be: don’t have stars in your eyes. Publishing is not enough. It’s not the thing you’re after. If you want the career, the ongoing publication, the fan base, the people waiting anxiously for your next book… then you have to think ahead, think beyond publication.

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