Any Truly Satisfied Writers Out There?

Put on your author hat and help me out here, would you?

Your agent has submitted your story. Rejection letters accumulate even as contest judges continue to give that baby accolades and at least one win. (You want to hug those judges–or at least send them some Godiva truffles.) You rewrite for the zillionth time. One more tweak, or two or ten. Surely, another rewrite will do the trick.

And then–glory, hallelujah–the phone rings. It’s your agent. Your knees begin to buckle. Three editors have shown interest, but here’s one offering a contract. You sign on the dotted line and wander the house, beaming, because finally, finally . . . FINALLY . . . you know you’ll have a book in hand. Your book. In your hand. (And, you pray, in many others’ hands, though that bit seems even harder to imagine than finally achieving a contract.)


The editor at the publishing house has yet to send you his or her suggestions. Meanwhile, you’ve still got a day job editing for others and three manuscripts in various stages of readiness. You plod along, tweaking, editing, rewriting, editing, reading, reading, and then you wake up one morning, quaking because once that final edit goes out on that contracted book, you won’t be able to tweak it again. Your name will be irrevocably tied to that bound copy or that downloaded ebook.

I’m posing this question to published authors.

How do you finally decide that good enough is actually good enough? How do you finally say, “Okay, I will lay down that piece and move on to the next?” Is it when your contract deadline nears? When you’ve got to have the work back in the publisher’s hands–or someone’s going to be in trouble?

Because, I don’t know about you, but I’m always rewriting. I love to rewrite. And each of my stories has improved with age. So, where do I quit?

If you’ve held your book in your hands, are you satisfied? Do you wish you could have a do-over on any part of it? Or do you worry that one of your story layers will topple? Do you ever worry that one of those stones–a relationship or a conflict or a theme, or even merely a moment or scene–might have worked better if nestled with just a bit more care?

I’d really like to know.


Sifting through Blog Land

An interesting blogger decided to follow Sea Venture’s Journey (my sailing blog). Being the curious sort, I wandered over to see what I could see and found a repost from Catherine, Caffeinated. I’m sorry that the linking blogger didn’t leave any way for me to contact her. Still, I submit Catherine’s two cents because she’s a young woman who writes with wit and wisdom. No, I don’t plan to self-publish. But that doesn’t mean I can’t glean a thing or two as a writer. As an editor and a reader, I hope authors take heed.

We can’t read everyone’s words, but this gal has pizzazz. You know what I mean.

It’s too bad, really. I come across blogs like this, and I wonder what else I’m missing. I bemoan the lack of time to wander the blogsphere: I imagine I could learn and laugh and have an absolutely grand time.

Perhaps I’ll stumble on yours next. And won’t that be fun?

Check out Catherine’s advice for self-publishers in the post below.

A Marketing Revelation

Fine, this won’t surprise the networking gurus, but as I commented this morning on a post over at Writer Unboxed called “Networking for the Cowardly and Terrified” (that would be moi), I saw it.

I rarely buy books when someone begs me to. I rarely buy based on advertising. But I do head over to Amazon when I read a thoughtful post or a comment by someone who intrigues me, some word that makes me want to know the writer better.

So, if that works for me as a buyer, perhaps it will work for me as a seller?

Oh, my, I can wrap my mind around that sort of marketing. The friendship thing.

And not because I want something from you or you want something from me: that will never work. I’m going to spot your insincerity after the first few conversations, and you’ll see mine just as clearly. No. I’ve got to want to know you—you, the person—before you’ll want to know me. And if you and I can interact on some real level, won’t that be fun?

I enjoy people. Yes, I’m basically shy, an introvert. But years ago, a voice whispered in my head that if I let my shyness impede my access to others, I was being self-centered, worrying more about me than about the other person. I’ve tried to hold on to that, to remember it when faced with a room full of folk. Not everyone is going to want to know me or talk to me. That’s fine. We’re all so wonderfully different, so uniquely made, and we come from such varied backgrounds and experiences. I enjoy richness in my relationships, and that’s not going to come if I surround myself only with clones. You don’t agree on some aspect of life? So what. You don’t share my faith? Fine, I’m used to that. You’re young? (I’m not, except at heart.) Then maybe you’ve some extra energy that you’ll share with me. You’ve a different perspective on things? Excellent—as long as you don’t expect me to agree and don’t get offended by our differences.

Right now, I’m a book buyer. (Hey, I’ll always be a book buyer!) And I’m going to follow interesting comments and interesting posts and anyone who reaches in my direction with some bit of compelling insight.

Contests are great fun (although sales would be trump these)

Just a quick note to tell you that another of my stories is a semi-finalist in the Genesis contest. Can’t tell you which. Can’t mention its title. But….

I resurrected it from an old program (anyone remember AmiPro?) and converted it to Word, then had to bring it up to date. But I had fun with it when I wrote it way back when, and I’m having fun with it again.

New stories are a delightful challenge, but old stories make me smile.