Tuesday, November 13, 2007

From the Trenches

If you're a writer, you have definite ups and downs. And few start out with a perfect sale. Generally, there are rejections, then some good rejections and perhaps, then, if the fates be with you, a sale. A must read is The Writing Business is a Killer: Advice from the Trenches at Murder She Writes. A big fat list of hefty players say "making it" ain't easy. Tess Gerritson, Lisa Gardner, etc. all have plenty to say about their pre-pub days. Quite the little pkg of interviews that says how they marketed, if they had an agent, how many rejections, etc., all good info for writers who think breaking into the business is easy cruising.

It took me about 7 years to finally meet an agent and then my first sale. I like to think that living remotely and without Internet in those dark shaky days handicapped me. The truth is, I didn't have a clue and only when I hooked up with serious published writers and went to a conference, did I begin to understand that this business is TOUGH.

Reportedly only one quarter of all ideas from the most highly published writers are accepted. Reportedly, an editor's desk can have 10,000 manuscripts waiting to be read. Folks, it is tough, but not undo-able. The ability to take and use editorial input is a real plus. Callouses that protect your inner fragility are essential. Regimentation essential, also. And a good support system.

Do try to check out this post with interviews from the greats, midlists, etc. Great info at Murder She Writes.


Caitlin Hoy said...

Did you send out more than one book manuscript? If so do you think that helped you get published faster? What were the names of the different book manuscripts' titles if you sent out more than one kind? Thanks for answering my questions. I love your books! Keep up the great writing and interesting stories:) I especially can't wait for your next release.

Cait London said...

Caitlin asks: Did you send out more than one book manuscript? If so do you think that helped you get published faster? What were the names of the different book manuscripts' titles if you sent out more than one kind?
Cait answers: A writer usually has an agent who is aware of how the ms fits into different publisher formats. And the writer definitely knows which market would best suit her work. If she has different ms with different elements, then the agent would send only one or project a series along that specific line/element to one publisher. As for what got me published faster, it was going to a writers conference and actually meeting and pitching to an agent; and he wasn't even a romance agent, but he got me started. As for titles, they are really important during the writing, but they change when the editor and sales determine what suits the market and sales best. I do spend time with a list of titles and try to "anchor" onto one while writing the piece. I am having trouble with Leona's title however; she's the third in the psychic triplet trilogy.

nicki72182 said...

I would love to write a book someday. Ideas often go through my head but when it comes down to actually writing it, I freeze. I've read about writing contests and wondered if you ever entered any. How long did it take you to write your first published book?

orelukjp0 said...

I always thought that writers write just because they love to and do so regardless of if they are able to publish with a house or not or just self publish.
My daughter dances and it too is a tough business. Acting is the same. You get 99 no's to 1 yes.
Only if you are very lucky and are in the right place at the right time, whether it's an audition or manuscript, and you have what the publisher, producer or director is looking for at that moment,will you get your break and be published, dance or act.
I'm very big on Don't quit your bread and butter job until you know you are able to support yourself doing what you love.
Congrats on making it in only 7 years.

Cait London said...

Nicki, if you want to write a book someday, the best way to start is to start putting down your ideas. I recommend some small notebook that you can add pages. Then, put one idea down only on one page. It will usually grow, so the ability to add pages helps. After a while, you can tab it into sections and you'll see that you've got some pretty good ideas going, enough for a book :)

orelukjp0: Writing can either be private or professional, but writing to sell indicates an occupation. Publishing is an industry, a big one, with very many levels. In the stone age, while I was trying to get that first book published, Internet didn't exist, nor did helpful/supportive writer groups in my area. It was pretty much learn by hard knocks, and there wasn't that much material about genre writing available either. Today, it's very different, but the margin of good writers is very, very wide because of all this information. So competition is much tougher. It seems to me that so much information is available for anyone truly trying to be published at some level. So it's very different now, tho it wasn't all that easy years ago either :).