Sunday, July 30, 2006


My husband sat on the couch reading the paper the other night and I heard him issue a big sigh.

“What’s up?” I said, wondering if the Angels had made a bad trade or he was reading about the oil companies’ record profits.

“How come these women can sell their books but you can’t?”

He was reading a puff piece done by the AP which usually shows up this time of year with the advent of the RWA conference, this year in Atlanta.  If you haven’t seen the article, here is a link: Romance Writers Changing Plots.  They interview a couple of writers, both of them former attorneys who quit working to make a living writing novels.

Trying to explain to a family member the intricacies of the publishing industry is tough.  They have no concept of how difficult it is.  My husband doesn’t understand how hard it is to write a book, find an agent and sell it to a publisher.  Writing isn’t an easy job.  What we write must resonate with an audience and the audiences taste changes like the wind.  We can write the perfect novel, full of brilliant characters and interesting plots.  But if it isn’t what the public wants, it won’t sell.  

Writers are the victims of vagaries.  What an editor loves on Monday can be loathsome on Friday.  We slave away on a story, pouring our guts into it only to find out the market is cold for the genre.  Or it is too hot and every writer has submitted, flooding the market.  I think there are a lot of wonderful writers out there and so luck does have a part in it.  Sometimes it is being in the right place at the right time; presenting the right story to the right agent who knows an editor with an opening.  

Being a writer makes us invest our blood, sweat and tears.  Publication is difficult, and the work we do to get to that point is overlooked and dismissed.  I didn’t get mad, my husband really has no idea what goes into the process and I really haven’t tried to explain it.  How do you explain the craziness of it all?  How do you try and explain how hard it is not to be published?  

How do you explain that you ask yourself the same question?  How come these women can sell their books but I can’t?

I ended up doing what I always do, blaming my kids.  The answer makes sense to him and gets me off the hook  


Blogger Devon Ellington said...

I look at it this way: finding the right agent/editor is like finding a soul mate for the work. It rarely happens the first time out. You've got to date around before the marriage.

Hang in there. It'll all happen.

Best wishes,

Ink in My Coffee

7:13 PM  
Blogger Melissa Marsh said...

Your time will come, Rene. I have every confidence in you. :-)

9:51 AM  
Blogger Janie said...

Part of this, Rene, is *writer bias,* unless something is wrong with the work that the author cannot see. The latter happens even to the best of wordsmiths.

It's finishing, and trying to sell. Over and over and over and over again, until something happens. Even then, it can go all wrong.

Some writers are also ambivalent about what they do.

I am going to think on this.

9:14 AM  
Blogger LoryKC said...

Hee hee! (Sorry--I know this is serious--I was laughing because inevitably, I blame my kids, too!)
My hubbie has a legitimate point though--I haven't worked hard to sell anything yet because I keep saying the WIP is not ready. It is not done.
The kids, of course.

It's not entirely true but I have trouble setting aside a chunk of time to just get it done.
The youngest starts kindergarten next week though so my time for making excuses is running out. I'll keep you posted!

7:50 AM  
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