Writing: What It Takes to Get Published?

RogerandOutJournal log entry – The walls are caving in. Have you ever felt numb in your head, like: “I don’t know what to do.”? These past couple of days, I have. I’m not sure what to write, and that happens sometimes, but I usually manage to wiggle my way out of the state … but these past couple of days, I just haven’t. I’m also feeling at a standstill. None of my books are published. None are in the process of getting published. No one is telling me to send them a manuscript. My mailman’s wife just self-published a book. She gave up on getting turned down and took it into her own hands … and she’s gotten some good reviews too. More and more I’m thinking this is the way to go. 

I wonder if I’m doing something wrong.

In my small town, at the end of the month, they hold a contra dance, kind of like a square dance, and before the squaring-off starts, there’s a potluck dinner all are invited to share. Well it was at this meal, before the dance, when my wife struck up a conversation with one of the musicians, a fiddler, and we come to find that he’s an author, but unlike me, a published one … and many times over. James, an author of about twelve books and living just one town over, tells me, “It’s not the best writers who get published necessarily, but the most persistent.” I don’t know if that soothes my wounds, because, regardless of who gets published, I want to get published so that people can read my books. He goes on to tell me how he’s gone through several literary agents, and I’m thinking I can’t even get one, but he also says a couple of them did nothing for him, but like a dog at the table, begging for a bone, I’m even wondering how that feels, believing that a step up. I suspect he was being modest about his writing, but I did get the picture that he was clearly persistent.

A little over a week later, I go to get an oil change for my car, and the owner of the shop asks how my book is coming. I answer, “It’s coming.” But I really wish I had had something better to say (“What? You didn’t see the movie based on it?”). Then, to add to my misery, he picks up a paperback from the counter. “My friend just got a book published,” he says. “He lives just in Hoosick Falls.” In my head I’m saying, “Oh really?” like why don’t you just pick up that crowbar and land it right here between my eyes. But of course I can’t help but be interested in seeing what his friend writes, so I don’t verbally reference the crowbar … yet. With a quick peek at the back cover, the story appears autobiographical. “Yeah, he was a drug addict,” he says. “Straightened himself out.” Oh … so now I realize I not only have to be persistent, but I’ve got to have an arm full of syringe and track marks, a prolific runny nose with a straw stuck up it, and know how to set up a meth lab … oh … right … and I’m supposed to tell how I cured myself of that … to get published. Of course this isn’t written in stone, but though there seem to be many avenues that lead to the publishing house, I’ve lost my GPS and can’t get out of my own driveway because I keep hitting the garage. Let us move on, why don’t we?

The church I belong to has just recently started a newsletter. That’s good. And they’ve decided that they want to include an interview of either a clergy member or a parishioner as a regular piece every issue. That’s fine. And I was asked to take on the assignment of the next interview. Um … okay … how could that hurt? No, this is not a paying job or likely to get picked up by the associated press, so in that respect there is sort of a rash growing because of it, but, no, I honestly believe the subject will be interesting.

The parishioner who had been chosen for my subject is a friendly man. But it also so happens, that he was a guard at the Nuremberg trials, which is a good bet to say, that that was the reason why I was told to interview him in the first place. Okay, so wanting to do a good job, prior to interviewing him, I thought I’d search the internet to see if there wasn’t any information pertaining to him, a sort of exposition for myself … and guess what? He has a book … a short book … but a book nonetheless. Where’s a pusher when you need one?

So let’s see (as I grit my teeth). To get published, I’ll need to be persistent (okay), have some sort of addiction I’m fighting (Not sure about that. Do doughnuts count?), and have been in close proximity, at least once in my life, to major mass murderers (Okay … this last wrinkle will be a lot harder than the rest I imagine).

I’m telling you, this is like having salt rubbed into my wounds … and to add some pepper to my open flesh, the man who I am going to interview has a daughter, and she is a … egad … children’s author … and published too. At this point the neighbors are knocking at my door after hearing my blood curdling scream, imagining I’m being murdered or murdering someone, and now quite certain, and hopefully happy for me, that I’ll be finally obtaining my first publishing contract due to either one of the two.

But it’s sad … so sad … because there has been no murder … and I’m not sure if just the screaming will be good enough to land a book deal.

Self-publishing? … Hmm?

Signing off,

Roger and out

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2 Responses to Writing: What It Takes to Get Published?

  1. Melissa C. says:

    I like this one Roger…it’s so very honest. Have you ever thought of having a few books printed over at Northshire Bookstore, and seeing if you can’t hand some out to local bookstores for free/reduced price. If they sell well, then the bookstores might want to purchase them from you!

    Keep writing!

    • Thanks Melissa, I’m still torn between traditional publishing and self-publishing, but I have to say self-publishing is looking better and better. I have considered the Northshire Bookstore as well as Amazon, and there is also a self-publishing company, I believe it is called “Outskirts”, which is affiliated with Barnes and Noble as well as Amazon. Whatever I choose … this will definitely happen. I will keep writing. Thanks again, Melissa.

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