Thursday, March 04, 2010

Six Writing Myths YOU Should Know

Over on noveldoctor, Stephen Parolini blogged about Seven Writing Myth He Made Up So He Could Debunk Them.

This got me thinking about the writing myths I'm aware of so why not toss them out there. Thanks noveldoctor for the idea.

The Myth - Writer's make a lot of money.
The Truth - Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Oh, man, shew, good one.

The Myth - If I make the story weird, they'll buy it.
The Truth - Hahahahahahahahaha. . . okay, I guess I can't do that too many times. If you make your story or proposal weird in an effort to get attention, editors and agent will only think you're weird and you'll wind up on some, "you'll never believe what someone sent to me," list. I've shared good laughs with editors and agents over this one. In fact, it's writer conference chatter, "So, what's the weirdest proposal you've ever received?"

The Myth - Leading with "God told me to write this," will get me a contract.
The Truth - No. Neither will, "This is the best thing you'll ever read." Playing the God card or the Aren't-I-Bold card does not ingratiate any author with an editor or agent. God speaks to all of us and if God really told you to write a book and take it to Mr. Certain Agent, He's going to tell the agent you're coming. Most Christian authors seek God about their work, about their agent and publisher. So don't think you're the first and only.

Being overly bold sometimes works in the corporate world, but back fires in the publishing arena. Authors, especially new ones, MUST be humble and teachable. No one writes a perfect book no matter how engaging the story. There are a few exceptions for first time novelists hitting the market with a bang -- J.K. Rowling and Stephanie Myers -- but don't count on being in that class. Yippee if it happens to you, but don't expect it. If it does, sleep with your lights on. The rest of us will haunt you.

The Myth - My publisher will promote the heck out of my book.
The Truth - Not possible. Most publishers have a small team to promote their books and there is simply more work than people. Most publishers do a minimum for each book, but seasoned and long time authors get the bulk of attention and money. Rightfully so. Or a new "lead" author gets attention. And of course, anyone who writes Amish. ;)

Be prepared to toot your own horn. Get on Facebook and Twitter. Build a nice web site with a blog. Join writers groups for help and support. Tout other authors who might in turn tout you. But be sincere! Hire someone like LitFuse to put together a blog tour for you.

The Myth - Once you're published, you're in, on the road, fame is the only sun on your horizon.
The Truth - Being published is certainly a help in gaining more contracts, but once you are published many other factors come into play. Some you can help, some you cannot. At the end of the day, even if you have written great stories, you also have to sell decently. Getting your book in the hands of readers is not as easy as you'd think. A book buyer for Barnes and Noble might determine all the purchases for an entire region. If a previous book didn't sell well, they are less likely to take a chance on the author's second or third book. A new author has a better chance of getting picked up.

The Myth - There's a reason writers struggle with their weight.
The Truth - Yes! It's called my desk is thirty feet from my refrigerator and my in-house office is one mile from Publix, McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, Soprano's Pizza, Beef O'Brady's and 7-11.

The gym is fives miles away. Do the math. ;)


Kimberley Woodhouse said...

Great post, Rachel. Full of laughter and truth. Just what we all need.

Leigh Duncan said...

Terrific post, Rachel. You hit the nail on the head with your list of myths...and why they remain myths instead of truths.

Rachel Hauck said...

Thanks Kim and Leigh! Btw, a big shout out to my author friends who write Amish stories. I'm thrilled with your success. :) There was no sarcasm or disdain in my comment. More like awe...

Have a great writing day!

Winter said...

Great post, Rachel, I had to repost it on my blog for my readers.

Oddly enough, my pastor's wife is learning a lot from watching my journey to become published. She commented the other night that it's a real eyeopener to see what it takes to get that final product in her hand by seeing how I struggle and never give up. A few of those myths she believed and found debunked with me.

Meg Moseley said...

God told me to write this comment....

Your post is a great reality check!

Rachel Hauck said...

Thanks Winter and Meg! I actually thought of another myth: My book would be a GREAT movie!

Hugs, Rachel