Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wednesday Writings - Finding Good News Among Bad

There have been quite a few blogs lately featuring posts on all the bad publishing news being bandied about. It's also a frequent topic of conversation in writing circles, with magazines and literary journals and e-zines readily agreeing that all is not well.

Is the over all news for writers really that dire? Will the world soon cease to read books or hard copies of things at all? Are we just downright stoopid to pursue this crazy writing life in which the be-all-end-all is the almighty dollar and our ability to bring more of it to whatever publishing venue decides to take a chance on us? Is it impossible to pluck the remaining few golden needles from the publishing haystack in order to be one of the rare lucky winners?

If you listen to the "experts," then you might answer yes to all of the above. But if you're an eternal optimist, or you just like going against the grain, then it's time to push past all the doom-n-gloom and find a way to make yourself and your written jewels shine forth from the darkness.

I like swimming against the tide, laughing at Chicken Littles, and cheering for the underdog, so here's some good news:

  • There are many best selling authors who had to go through the agony of The Rejection Years before finally making it. Stephen King, Harper Lee, Margaret Mitchell and John Grisham are a few who refused to accept defeat and rejection as their lot in life. For a further listing, check out this article at It begins, "Novelists spend years developing their craft, editing and reediting their work, agonizing over the smallest word, often to be rejected by publisher after publisher. The following famous books and authors were turned down by publishers at least 15 times before they became household names.­"
  • From my real life files ~~ A dear friend has a nonfiction manuscript she's worked on for years in her spare time between working a 40+ work week, volunteering for good causes and rearing children. She did a little bit of agent research, prayed hard, and took a chance on sending her first letter to a major agent/publisher. She received an email the very next day from said guru asking to see her ms and giving her instructions on how to submit to him. How awesome is that? Couldn't happen to a nicer woman either, and a cancer survivor to boot!
  • Thinking outside the box (and far from the boo-hoo bandwagon) can bring success. Check out this article on Starbucks getting into the publishing game. {Sidebar: We had an awesome book signing at a few cafes owned by a local coffee company a few years ago, so I'm wondering if they'd be interested in doing something similar to the national coffee giant?}
  • Sometimes you just have to laugh and realize, "This too shall pass." And on that note, here is a comic strip I've been enjoying lately. The author/illustrator granted permission to reprint here. Check out Debbie Ridpath Ohi's site whenever you feel the weight of the publishing world's funky news getting you down:
Now, git bizzy, and scratch up a little good news for yourself! Write on, and don't forget to share your successes with the rest of us.


Nita Lou Bryant said...

Thanks for helping us keep it all in perspective. I'm off to my first nonfiction writers' retreat in a small town in Texas this weekend. (I write both fiction and nonfiction, but so far have only published essays.) Can't wait to hear what everyone on that side of the fence has to say.

Anonymous said...

I think Starbucks does not want anymore of the local coffee company. The people at the shops I call on are pretty pumped about showing them the gate.
Local works, especially with coffee.

Kathryn Magendie said...

I'm all for the Indie's! I'm hoping to see more good independent publishers, and then booksellers, thrive! Another avenue for writers :-)....and I said "good" indie publishers, not the shysters out there!

good post!

Terri Tiffany said...

Great Post! I needed this bit of encouragement this week! I always try to remember how long it too so many to get their books out there and the key is to not give up. I like the story of the woman who finally tried a major publisher and they took her book! Awesome! I find myself starting small because I don't think it is worth more than that. Thank you!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Nita, how exciting. I dearly love conferences. Like you, I also write in different genres. Keeps things interesting. Please give us a report when you get home!

I'm on the local (Community Coffee) support list too. Yum. Drinking some right now in one of their mugs. LOL

Angie Ledbetter said...

Kathryn, I'm with you! The more the merrier in the publishing arena.

Glad the post inspired, Terri. Best of luck with your WIPs!

Debbie said...

I can't visualize a future without hard copies of books. I've done a lot of things wrong in my parenting, but I have managed to raise four incredible readers who walk around with a book in their hands at all times. There is nothing like the real item. I won't give them up without a fight. I'm not a writer - but I am a reader!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Hear ya, Debbie. I've got 3 reader kids here too. Glad we did something right. I heart your blog!

Renée aka Mekhismom said...

I love the comic and although I do not have any works formally published (on paper) I can completely understand where you are coming from. I don't believe that books are coming to an end. I enjoy reading blogs on line but could never read a full book like that. There is something about the feel of the book in your hands, the crackling of the pages as they turn - reading on the computer can never compete with that.

Janna Qualman said...

Great cartoon! And the bit about Starbucks getting into the publishing game fairly jumped off the screen at me, because that's good potential news for a project I've got going. Thanks for sharing this uplifting info, Angie!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Renee, I agree with you. Something about the feel and smell of real ink on real pages. And thanks for dropping in. Loved the pics of your Cutie Patootie little man at your blog.

You're very welcome, Janna. Hope your project pans out!

Suzie said...

I love to hold books. I love the smell of them too

Rachel Burton said...

Thanks for the encouraging post. I'm still seeing deals on PM every week, so I know it's not all over yet!

Suldog said...

Some of my loved ones have been after me to submit a few pieces to a few places. I've been lazy about it, but I think this got me to the tipping point. Thanks!

Carrie Wilson Link said...

LOVE your attitude. L-O-V-E it. Books get published every day - might as well be OURS!

colbymarshall said...

It's just one of those things where you'll never get anywhere if you don't buck up the courage, send it out, and try not to go insane :-) Good luck!

Btw, LOVE the comic!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Me too, Suzie. Love being in the library and just breathing it all in. Thanks for stopping in.

Rachel, that's right!

Go for it, Sul. Get in the game. Reading your blog as often as I do, I'd say your turn at bat is gonna go great!

Write on, Carrie girl.

Love her comics too, Colby. I bet you don't have problems putting yourself "out there." Good on you!

Avid Writer said...

"Cappuccinos for the Soul." Yes, I can see it! Starbucks doesn't miss a trick!Great post as always, Angie!:)

Small Footprints said...

You know ... I think you should feel just great because your blog inspires people. Your posts are always so uplifting and then ... I read the comments and everyone is encouraged. If you never sold a word (which I'm sure will never be the case) ... you would be totally successful.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Small Footprints

Angie Ledbetter said...

LOL, Avid, maybe they'll serve up short stories with their grandes. Glad you enjoyed the post. I always find your informative.

Small, thanks for the kind words. You made my day. And thank you for caring about our Earth enough to post tips on how to better serve the planet.

Ang said...


I always have a book to read on my lunch break. Can't imagine lugging the computer to my car to read. I still own many of the books I read in AP English in High School and my library grows more and more each day (thank you ebay).

I love to read your blogs. So inspirational. Thank you.

Writer On Task said...

Hey, I like your style! I'm definitely in favor of optimism :)

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