Since I’ve devoted this year to “The Journey of a Book”, I have to address the business side of writing: publishing, which is my theme this month. Not every writer needs to be published. If you enjoy writing for yourself or friends or family, then publishing may not be on your mind. But if you want to publish stories or books, you need to ask yourself if you are ready to publish. Below is the key question to know if you are.
Are You Willing to Let Others Shape Your Story?
When I first began writing, I thought I knew everything there was to know about writing fiction simply by remembering how the stories I’d read were constructed. The manuscript I brought to my first conference was perfect. All the publisher had to do was print it. I’d be on my way.
Except that this idea was delusional.
Publishing makes a story marketable to a wider audience. Professionals in the industry help you fix quirks of your writing that might hamper readers enjoying your story. For me, that meant having an editor point out when I used colloquial expressions that readers from other parts of the country might not understand. I had to have a teachable spirit, able to take opinions from critique partners, beta readers, and editors and use them to improve my story. I had to admit that no matter how much work I put into a book, I couldn’t do it perfectly and would have to accept advice on how to make it better.
And an amazing thing happen–my stories improved. Many new writers think other industry professionals, like editors, will harm their story. But those professionals want your story to be the best it can be. They also recognize that it’s your story. They want you bring out the qualities that make your story unique.
If you are ready to publish, you are ready to let the story be king, to allow others to make the story the best it can be.
Are you ready?