After a fabulous all day workshop given by Lucy Monroe this fall, I had an epiphany.
Writing to sell requires a writer to follow three “P”s:
Lucy Monroe stressed over and over in her workshop to discover your process and protect it. And just as no two people are exactly alike, every writer’s process is different. But, figuring out how you write is only half of the job. The other half is learning how to block out the voices of other writers who suggest you need to write a different way. Do you need to write a 70 page outline before you start? Do you prefer to begin your novel with an interesting situation? Do you spend days getting to know your characters first, listing every nuance and characteristic before you start? Or do you write without knowing anything but a vague story idea, discovering the details (and everything else!) as you write the book?
However you like to write, it’s the right way for you. Period.
Never substitute your process with someone else’s!
On to P number 2.
Patience is one of those traits I lack. If I’m home I check my email a million times a day and watch for the mailman to come down the street. He knows me by name. The fact that it takes editors and agents weeks or even months to assess my query, partial or full manuscript drives me crazy!
But, I’ve finally figured out that that’s the nature of the business. Publishing is not fast. I may not like it, but there it is. And out of my own sense of frustration I’ve discovered a couple of ways to make the time go faster.
Submit then submit some more. Once I’ve gotten my manuscript, be it a query, partial or full, in the mail, I don’t sit around waiting for THE CALL. I get something else in the mail like a newsletter article for my chapter newsletter, a non-fiction query or I’ll send off a funny story to Reader’s Digest (They pay really well!). The trick is to keep busy so you’re not watching the phone or bribing your mailman to deliver earlier.
Volunteer. Got an hour or two with nothing to do but wonder who’s reading your submission? Why not donate that time to your local writing chapter or RWA itself? It keeps me out of trouble!
P number three is persistence.
The vast majority of published writers wrote for years in the trenches. The only reason they’re now published is because they didn’t give up. Every time they got a rejection, they turned around and sent that book to a different publisher or wrote a new novel. They did not take no for an answer.
Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common that unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. – Calvin Coolidge.
We cannot control who will buy our book or when it will happen, but we can control how hard we work and how often we submit.
Persist and you will find success.