Writing vs. Publishing

Screw top corkI think it’s fair to say that writers cherish the anonymity of writing a book because no one sits in judgement of its quality. Writing is the unabashed luxury of editing ’til your eyes bleed or you’ve exhausted all the cheap gin in your batcave. In short, writing is where the delusional process is alive and well – for better or worse.

Publishing, on the other hand, is where authors get a crash course in grace and humility. There is a middle ground that one has to walk. For example, your editor may mainline antifreeze if you are consistently shocked that people are buying your book. The same may happen if you take umbrage with unfavorable critique. The idea is to be a class act at all times.

Many years ago, one of our authors (no longer with us) blew his spleen over a less-than-thrilling Kirkus review, and told me he was going to write them a nastygram. It took me a couple days to talk him off the ledge. This is not a class act, and we chose never to speak of it again.

An editor friend of mine with one of the Big Guns told me how one of her authors wrote a blog post bashing the editing job her editor had done on her book, and to please not buy it. This is not a class act. My friend and the author chose never to speak of this again…well…because they dumped the author.

My point with these extreme examples is that knowing what’s “out there” in Published Land is as important as the writing process itself. I remember meeting a woman who consciously chose not to query her work because she recognized her potential of being a “Writer-zilla.” Very commendable when I look at my own eleven-year collection of “Holy sh!t” experiences.

So before you sit down to bang out a chapter or three, ask yourself whether your heart, brains, and intestines are ready for the mental rigors of being a published author. We can only hope everyone will love us, but there’s more truth to knowing that’s little more than a pipe dream.

Oh, and by the way – yah, I’ve done the same exact thing depicted in the photo. I’m a dork. I realize this.

6 Responses to Writing vs. Publishing

  1. ericjbaker says:

    Once again I’m making this face at your “cranky writer” stories:


  2. her30s says:

    Good point. One has to build up an immunity to rejection and not take things so personally.

  3. I would hope that when (gulp) I get published I would appreciate all comments, good and bad and mediocre. I am currently working on a set of clothes made out of Teflon when the time comes to launch.

  4. susanpjames says:

    A not so good Kindle review made me pull back a book after numerous people including publisher liked it. Has taken a year to get it out again, improved version. Trying to realize that I’m going to get bashed as well as lauded.

  5. My writing coach suggested that I craft some reviews of my unpublished-work-in-progress manuscript. I had a lot of fun with it and made sure I had a couple of crisp, pointed and not so flattering reviews. I call it “toughening it up.”

  6. Reblogged this on Manuscript. Head. Drawer. and commented:
    Valuable stuff to apply sooner rather than later. Yep.

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