From the Editor's Desk
Lament is an author’s stock in trade. Not enough time to write. I have all day to write, and I stare at a blank screen. I can’t sell my book. I sold my book, and I can’t believe how much red is in the edits. I love my editor. I hate my editor. What’s an em dash? I’ll never remember where to put the em dash. How do I build community? If I spend all my time “making friends” on social media, when am I supposed to write? My royalty statement is depressing.
True story, among thousands of true stories much like this one:
Viet Thanh Nguyen’s first published fiction novel, The Sympathizer was released in 2015 and won the Pulitzer Prize and the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award for best first novel.
The novel started as a collection of stories he’d written over the years. He found an agent who told him a novel would be easier to sell than a story collection. It took him years to write the novel. Thirteen publishers rejected the novel before it sold. He had a solid literary debut, but when he won the Pulitzer, sales skyrocketed to more than a million copies.
In demand as a speaker, a panelist, a late-night TV guest, and op-ed writer, he didn’t write a word of fiction for the next year. He had two decades of unpublished writing to draw on, and got his story collection published, and he wrote a work of nonfiction.
The sequel to The Sympathizer was released on March 2nd.
We’ve all heard about how Harry Potter was rejected a dozen times before it sold. How some authors write 50 or more books before they hit the USA Today or New York Times bestseller list. Some authors never hit bestseller lists, but they make a living being writers. Some who make a living being writers and have had books on bestseller lists have kept their day jobs just in case.
Persist, persist, persist. Never give up. Keep the faith. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Write every day. Even if it’s crap, keep writing. Outline. Create three acts for each book. Write by instinct. Let your characters guide you. Join a critique group. Get beta readers. Write alone. You have to please yourself, nobody else.
All of it is true.