There's No Crying in Publishing

I started a writing/marketing course last week called "Author Training 101."  It's not about how to write, but how to finish a writing project; how to write a book proposal; how to write a business plan; how to promote your work; and how to be a bulldog about getting published.

I need to know all these things because I've been dragging my feet on my WIP (work in progress) for three years.  I have no idea how to write a book proposal or a business plan.  I hate self-promotion.  And I've never been a bulldog about anything.

It's the most challenging course I've ever taken (excluding all college math courses.)   It's difficult because it's forcing me out of my comfort zone - which, of course, is always uncomfortable and scary.  Comfort zones are aptly named, aren't they?

I'm only in week two of this course, and I'm struggling with the homework.  I have to answer questions like:

Is my current project unique? 
If I were a publisher, would I invest money in my project?
Am I tenacious enough to do whatever it takes to get published?

I don't know.  I don't know.  And I don't know.  I never concretely thought about these things.  I ended up saying, yes, I think so, and what does whatever-it-takes mean?   Go into debt?  Change all the things I love about my project?  I still don't know.

This course is taught by Nina Amir, whom you can check out HERE.    She's direct and talented and I'm impressed with her knowledge.  I'm going to learn so much from this eight-week course.  I'm afraid I might learn I don't have what it takes to get published.

There, I said it.

That's my fear.  That I don't have the tenacity, the will, the never-give-up attitude that is necessary to get published.  Some things in life aren't worth killing yourself over.

Nina also asks her students these things:

How do you handle rejection?  (bums me out)
Are you generally optimistic?  (depends)
Are you objective about your work? (probably not)

I have a long way to go.

Nina then said something that really hit me.  "Getting your book published is not about you.  It's about your reader."  Hmmm.  The heart-and-soul work that is going into my book is probably not going to be recognized by the reader.  The reader is looking for connection to her heart and soul. 

This is a shift in thinking for me.  For readers to spend their hard-earned money on my book, they must be engaged and inspired within a minute of skimming its pages in Barnes and Noble (a girl can dream.)  My love for it doesn't necessarily transfer into sales.

This was hard to hear, although, upon further thought, I know it's true.  I don't buy a book if it doesn't speak to me on some level.  This course is helping me understand the realities of publishing and selling and convincing the world my work is a worthy investment.    

I told you this is a challenging course.

But, I'm sticking with it, and I'm going to ruminate on all the questions and dig deep and see what I'm made of, find the bulldog inside.  Because getting my book published is what I want to do.   With God's grace and direction, I will succeed.

It might be difficult, but things of value always are.  In the movie A League of Their Own Gina Davis tells Tom Hanks she's quitting baseball because it's too hard.

"Of course it's hard," he replies emphatically.  "If it was easy, everybody would do it."  


Zoanna said...

Hang in there. I think I have not attempted to write a book for many of the same reasons.

I apologize for not answering the question you posed on my blog a week or two ago about gluten free oatmeal bread. I have no idea. I am new to the GF scene and honestly don't care for many GF products. I have not really tried very hard (it's expensive to experiment!) to find what I do like. My SIL is totally GF and she likes Udy's brand whole grain bread , but I"m not sure if they also carry oatmeal bread. Let me know if you find things you could highly recommend.

Karen Lange said...

Oh I hear you! I hate self promotion. Every bit of it. Add to that the fact that I'm an introvert too...well, it's just not fun. I have to push myself to post on Twitter, FB, etc., and it's not that I don't mean what I post, or dislike the people I interact with, it's that I hate calling attention to myself, so it's a lot of work for me. Perhaps I should be taking this class too! LOL

That said, it does come with the territory, so I'm working to find a balance that I'll be comfortable with - you know, one that doesn't make you feel all false and boastful. Cheering you on as you find the right place and balance too. We can do this, to the extent that we should, and stretch and learn, I'm thinking. It's nice knowing there are others who feel much the same way. So glad you shared. Wishing you the best with the class! :)

Robin said...

I should sign up for this course. it's the marketing, self-promoting stuff I am totally clueless about. You are a bull dog for signing up for the class. Nina will get you there.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

They say that nothing worth having, comes easy and it's the truth. I hope you learn a lot and benefit from your studies.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Those are actually tough questions. I'm not sure I'd do 'whatever it takes'! It sounds like a great course though, and actually much much useful than the how to write courses. (I always thought that if you wanted to write, you'd kinda-sorta have an idea how to do it!)

Rita said...

Sounds like a good course. I've always known I don't have what it takes for the self-promotion needed these days. Good grief, I can't even read the majority of my own stuff out loud to a small group without choking up (too close to my heart, I guess) and I can't travel or stand anymore anyways--LOL! But, being a writing major in college, all that you are learning in this course sounds pretty honest and true. There are always exceptions in life, though. ;)

Michael Ann said...

Sounds like a great course. I know I would feel the same way if I were in your shoes. My dad recently had his book published by Tate Publishing. It's a memoir, sort of, more a family story of his Italian Nana and our family's story of coming to America. I don't know really how he managed to get it published. He is doing a lot of self-promotion on Face Book etc... and to be honest, it's a bit annoying. No one wants to get bombarded with "buy this." Not sure he's going about it the right way. Anyhow... and I must be honest, what you said about speaking to the reader's heart? I don't think this book would speak to anyone's heart unless they were part of our family. It's an okay book but.... Tate must be a smaller publishing company. ?? Just thought I'd share that. I think you should continue to go for your dream!!

Kenya G. Johnson said...

Sigh. I need to find my inner bulldog. This sounds like a great course.

Jaime said...

I learned a lot about this type of strength from my husband. He's a comedian and I've discovered that comedians really put themselves out there. Rejection is immediate and brutal.

I've seen comedians stick out their act while people walk out of the audience and make faces and whisper to each other. There are no back up singers or place to hide your head. You have to take it. And the good comedians, take it with confidence. It's amazing to see.

I'm in awe of these kind of entertainers. When I'm feeling scared of rejection, I just think "Hey, at least I'm not on a stage in front of a group of people."

Emmy said...

Oh sounds like a great course! I too am writing a book right now that I hope to get published some day; have to get it finished first though, but yes the after part is definitely the part I least look forward too, might have to check this course out.

netablogs said...

What a great post! You are a brave soul for working through those tough questions! I hadn't thought about the book being about the reader, but it's so true. I buy books that speak to me. Makes perfect sense.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

It sounds like an excellent course because it's forcing you to think and analyze about things right up front, before jumping into the red ocean of book publishing. (Your uncertain answers made me lol.)

Marianne said...

Stay the course (literally and figuratively!). You truly are a very talented writer & interesting voice.

Starry Dawn said...

Hi dear one,
I am the new follower of your blog.
It's so interesting the things you have said about your course.
I am Starry, a Christian mom and grandmother of my 3 New York grandchildren. I also write short stories, tales, poems, thoughts, do some artistic work, take photos, love animals and nature. My hubby will soon retire, and then, we'll begin to travel more as we please. I shall return to read more of your interesting posts. I do not know how to answer questions like the one you posted.
Well, that is all for today.
I hope you visit some of my blogs, and even follow, if you wish.
God bless you and family, dear one.
Greetings from Poet Starry Dawn.

kim said...

Sounds like a great course! Rejection. So hard to handle! Thanks for sharing these questions. Gives me a lot to think about.

Unknown said...

Sounds like a great course.

The best parenting advice I ever heard was, "Worrying that you aren't good enough is a sure sign of being a good parent. Bad parents don't have that fear."

Personally, I've often hoped that the same applies to writing.

Hang in there and keep moving forward.