Writing: For Pleasure or Profit?

Now that I have my manuscript wrapped up (for now, at least…I hope I don’t open it again for last minute tweaking), I’ve been researching the agents I want to target. This includes cyber-stalking on Facebook and Twitter. Of course, I click on almost every link. I would click on every link, but who has time? There’s a lot of good information in there. Stories about success in getting published, and of course, the sad tales of repeated rejection, and if not outright rejection, then a facsimile of it based on agent teasing. Mind you (agents in waiting), I have no first-hand knowledge, only anecdotal notes from my friends and colleagues.

It’s not enough to spell correctly, un-purple your prose, toss out the cliches, and tighten weak grammar. An author must get out and SELL. You not only have to write a book that wows, you must write a query letter with zing and a synopsis that won’t leave the potential agent snoozing. It’s a tough market out there; the ocean is full of fish, and a lot of them are way more talented than I am.

This caused me to think: Do I want to write for pleasure or for profit? This journey has been a long one, to be sure. It’s tough writing a book. You not only have to be reasonably creative, you also have to have a strong work ethic. Do I really want to peddle my baby? And once sold, I know it won’t make enough money for me to quit my day job.

Since I am hunkered down in my castle waiting for the Snowpocalypse, I thought I would explore this. Why do I write?

The biggest reason is because I must. I have ideas in my head, and stories I want to tell. So far, a select few have read my book, and the consensus is that most like it. A few like it a lot. I love the fact that I have written a 95K story that entertains. To me, that’s the best part of the whole deal — taking my idea and molding it to a complex and mildly funny tale.

It’s not all fun and games. I wish the words would fly from my head and into my computer without any thought at all, but writing is hard work. There are rules (yes, some to be broken); there is always something to learn.

I honestly wish I would have started earlier, or not stopped when the kids came. Although I must say, being able to write witty notes to elementary school teachers came in handy.

So, even though I’ve sent out 1.25 queries every week this year, I won’t take the rejection personally. I won’t quit; I won’t get depressed. I’ll keep plugging along, getting the next story out of my head and onto the page.

There are Turnips, and There are Turnip Trucks

When last I wrote, I was on a query sending frenzy. Believe me, just one a week is a frenzy for me, seeing that I’m rather lackadaisical (lazy is probably not the correct adjective) about doing anything. Perhaps we can blame it on winter. The first few weeks of January were *excuse my French* awful damned cold, with lows in the single digits, highs in the teens and windchill in the nether regions. I don’t call this the Tundra for nothing.

I am happy to report that I’m on track with my goal of one query to one agent per week. It’s very hard to stay on the turnip truck, but I appear to be doing quite well, thank you.

In the meantime (yes! there is a meantime), I have submitted my work into a few contests (not hoping against hope that I might place, for I am a pragmatist). It’s jolly good fun. No, it’s not, but I thought I might as well get the taste of rejection out of the way. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. This way if someone throws me a bone, I will be delighted. I don’t just mean happy, I mean happy-dance happy. (You all saw how reacted when I only placed in a contest, right?) If and when the news is good, I’ll be spreading it around so quickly…I can’t even think of an appropriate metaphor, but it’ll be fast.

I have entered this contest; if you write and haven’t entered yet, I strongly urge you to do so. There are only spaces for 5,000 entries, and while that seems like a lot, in this world where everyone is a scribe, it’s just a drop in the bucket. Best of all, there’s no entry fee.

I’ve also decided to give the manuscript another edit. I know. I cannot leave it alone. I’m fleshing out what needs it and deleting what it doesn’t need. After this final (I hope) pass, I plan on putting it away for a while and continue my querying, maybe take up with the other pieces I’ve been diddling around with and get them query ready.

Not bad for a turnip, huh?