Friday, January 23, 2009

Sink Or Swim?

As I mentioned in my last post, most new writers feel that getting published could be relatively simple. I was there at one time myself. I didn't really think I'd get published with my first query, but I still didn't see it taking the almost six years that it actually took.

But that's the reality of it. There are always the unusual stories of people who had it happen overnight, but those are extremely rare. The fact is, it's a crowded market out there. How many people have you met who said they wanted to be a writer? Tons! It's a popular career choice, and editors are swamped with queries and manuscripts.

So where to start?

If you really feel this is where the Lord's leading, ask Him. I can't give you any better advice than to consult at every turn the One who gave you this talent. I can honestly say that the times I went off on my own without prayerful consideration and did what I or someone else said I should, I ended up wasting time and energy... and maybe a few tears. The fact is whenever I followed His guidance, I saw results. They may have been small steps forward, but they were steps forward, nonetheless, and forward steps are better than backwards ones any day.

Ultimately, there are some basics to pay attention to. Doing a little research on the industry is a good way to start. There are plenty of books and websites about the publishing industry, and a primer on the business can't hurt. It's always a plus to know what you can about what you're walking into.

When you think you have a general idea of what goes on, grabbing a copy of Sally Stuart's Christian Writers' Market Guide is a smart way to familiarize yourself with specifics. It's packed full of publishers of books and periodicals, giving information on what they're each looking for and how to contact them.

So we're taking this in steps here, and these are the first. Now that you feel you're meant to write, do a little investigation. But do remember that there are a zillion options for studying up, so always keep step number one in mind: consult the Lord. He's the only way you'll keep your head above water in a saturated industry.

And He's so much better than water wings!


Ethan M. said...

When I was around the age of 8, I thought I could be awesome at writing stories...My Dad's PC still has about 15 documents on it that are unfinished stories ranging form about a paragraph to a couple sentences in length. I don't have the patience to write! Of course there was that that one series...

Jennifer Valent said...

Trust me, that series of yours won't see the light of day as long as I can help it! :)

You know I've told you before I never thought I'd have the patience to write a book. I have a notebook full of little bits of writing I used to play around with. But when the Lord wants you to do something, He gives you what you need to do it. Maybe you'll be a writer, maybe you won't. But you never know... He might surprise you!