Right Place, Right Time (writing tip #63)

The publishing industry just like any business that sells art is a tricky endeavor. There's no sure-fire formula. There are trends and histories and success stories. But there's also a lot--and I mean A LOT--of head scratching and soul searching. Not by authors, but by publishers.

I know because I worked on that side of things for over 13 years. I know because I still have close friends that scratch their heads and search their souls on a daily basis.

The publishing waters that any author wades through are often difficult and murky. So many authors give up after lack of sales or lack of drive or simply getting stuck in that muck. For every huge name bestseller there are many, many more that tried and failed.

Publishing is a business, and just like many businesses, there are lots that don't make it.

As I continue to swim out to the deep waters of publishing, many times feeling like I'm swimming in the dark with no clear direction in sight, I tell myself something.

It's something I've witnessed personally, and something I've read about and heard discussed amongst publishers.

Success can't be boiled down to pure talent. It can't be pinned on sales and marketing. It can't be as simple as a great premise. It can't be as trite as saying "It's God's will".

No--this is what I remind myself:

The right idea written at the right time published by the right house can be that one right hit.

I tell myself this even though I just keep writing. I'll always write as long as I have a halfway coherent mind. Full-time, part-time--doesn't matter. I'll be writing.

Publishing and marketing and selling are all difficult ventures. Writing good stories is tough. Trying to get a book to make an impact when a billion are published each year--that's really tough.

Sometimes all of that can make a writer weary and worried.

For a while, however, I've had some measure of peace. If a door opens, that's awesome. If they shut, so be it. I've gotten enough positive input to feel that I deserve to be published. I've also seen enough realities to know that it's going to be hard for me to hit a home run anytime soon. Retailers aren't sure what to make of me, this guy who's written a bunch of stories in various genres. Nothing really stands out with my writing. Certainly not my sales, which are sometimes the only thing the machinery tends to take notice of.

But at the right place and the right time, something magical can happen. I believe that. I believe that every time I start to write. I really do. I never simply go through the motions. I try to carve out a chunk of my heart and soul and put it into the story. Sometimes it works decently. Sometimes it's just a messy failure.

But one day, maybe--just maybe--my time will come.

When the story is told in just a unique way and presented in just the right way that it really makes an impression.

If I didn't believe this couldn't happen, I might stop now. Or at least get a normal job that paid regularly and made some type of sense.

No, I still believe. Every day and night, I believe.

If you write, you need to believe this too. Doesn't matter if you're alone in your belief and the rest of the world thinks you're crazy. Sure, if no doors are opening and the writing is going nowhere, it might mean you won't be able to make a living from it. But you can still write.

I can still write, too, and that's what I'm going to keep doing.

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