Wednesday, July 21, 2010

When Publishing Statistics Knock the Breath Out of You (and not in a good way)

This happened to me last night. I was looking through various websites of authors I admire. I was curious about how they set up their websites, how it differed from their blog, etc. Rick Riordan is from my very own town and wrote the very successful Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

I'm enjoying myself, scrolling through various things on the blog, and I see an "Advice for Aspiring Writers" section. Cool, I think. So I click. And he has a post on, "The Odds of Getting Published." I should have known not to read this! I got a bunch of statistics that seriously depressed me. I won't quote them here, in case you are teetering on the brink of despair yourself. In that case, DO NOT click on that link! Seriously.

Now, it's not his fault and I love Rick Riordan. He is only presenting the cold, hard facts about the chances of ever getting published in this world, much less earning any money at it. It's certainly not the first time I've heard facts like this and it's good to remember. In fact, in Take Joy by Jane Yolen, she says we should write what makes US happy, because, "You are-- after all--the very first reader of what you write. Please that reader. You may not have any other." I didn't find that very joyful to consider at the time, but I understand she's trying to get us to think about enjoying the process of writing, not just seeking the end result of being published.

I've read many, many books on writing and few of them suggest that you will be able to give up your day job. Most writers will always need that other income. But still! It's a hard hit to take after you're already feeling guilty about watching Glee instead of writing dutifully! On top of a lousy day, too.

I share this NOT to depress you, too, but to share with you my journey as a writer. This is part of it-- that heavy feeling that I'm kidding myself, that this will never work. I bet lots of writers struggle with it. The question, "Why bother?" has haunted me all day. Some days, everything seems possible. This is not one of those days.

But somehow, even in the face of news like this, I want to keep going. So I will.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder Amy if u r already writing/getting published in some area in ur life... I cant remember & if u could find someone to mentor u. This was the advise I was given a few wks ago & I plan on going w it... It does help that I'm already getting a column published but also having someone mentor me is superb... Someone who already is writing publically. Bc I also wonder if this writing business is less about the writing & more about who u know... Networking. I'm going w the networking side of it & hopefully I have something important to say. Lol


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