Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Growing-Up of Drea

I started out just writing--like we all do.  Then I started researching the business, and at that point in time it was all about traditional publishing because you absolutely had to have your books in bookstores to sell, and you have to sell (of course) to make it as a writer.  So it was about queries and synopsis and having the first three chapters of your novel so polished that they shone, flawless on the page.  
The same critique group that honed this awareness introduced the idea that publishers were looking for marketability.  
I was an impressionable 21, with the only certainty in my young life the conviction that, in the amorphous future, I wanted to be a full-time writer and nothing else.  I soaked up the ideas of how to attract an agent, a publisher, and promote oneself as a writer.
Young as I was, I also chafed against this focus.  Shouldn't it be about my writing?  This is, after all, what I want to do?  
Besides, the group’s ideas of what made a story “promote-able” were an exact opposite, oftentimes, to what I considered good writing.  I wanted storytelling that didn't treat the reader as an imbecile with ADD.  
Over time, I went off the deepend, eventually being completely obsessed with marketability.  This happened partially in response to the changing industry and my determination to be traditionally published.  
But the more my academic experience changed how I viewed the industry and the trajectory we were all headed into, the more I questioned the viability of starting out pursuing traditional publication.  I gathered my own ideas of marketing, of writing, of developing myself and my career, and then fell down a recession-forged fiscal hole that finished the destruction of my carefully held beliefs of the adult world.  
Now, perhaps, I am ready for the enacting of my ideas.  It’s a long time coming.


  1. I think the world of publishing is changing so rapidly and traditional publishers are no longer the end all and only answer. They choose a lot of bad books to publish. We all need to write the story that speaks to us and not worry so much about marketability. If the story and the writing are good, readers will eventually find you. And with books available online forever (unlike in stores) it will happen.
    You are correct - it's about the writing not the selling. Elaine Russell

    1. Thanks Elaine. I certainly agree, and I think the fact that the book can live forever online changes the way we can work as writers--and, I think, it can free us to write the way we want. If we open to it, and pursue quality no matter what option we choose.

  2. A very interesting story of your writing and marketing experience, Drea. However, though I know you said this as a rhetorical device, be careful not to cause other people to think that all people with ADD are imbeciles (or vice versa). It's absolutely not true. Like with certain blind and deaf people, there are many geniuses with ADD. I've personally known many of them.

    As you've indicated, we live and learn so much as writers about where the importance in the writing lies, which is in the writing itself. Realistically, if we want to be paid and acknowledged as professional writers, we do have to know the markets. But, in my opinion, marketing is merely a tool for us writers and artists and not an end in itself or should not dominate the writing. It's all about our writing first.

    1. I'm sorry you took the phrase that way. I was in no way trying to say anything about the intelligence of individuals with ADD, but the hypothetical characterization of an audience that doesn't do subtlety, nuance, or poetry and along with that has no patience for anything that lacks an action-packed plotline. I like action and adventure, but as I seek balance, I don't want to concede to the pressure to make changes to how I write for the sake of reaching a wider audience. This is a realization i've come to as I have begun to understand that a "wider audience" is not needed, I'll go into that in another post though :)

  3. I'm still pondering the questions of how to be a marketer and a writer. I see prolific authors that produce 5-6 novels a year and self publish. Not every self published book is a "good read". I don't know the answer to my own questions, but like you Drea, I'm having to grow up realize just writing a good story does not guarantee you get published; or if published that anyone will buy it.

    No matter what direction an author takes, there is bound to be some heartache as well as accomplishments.


    1. Thanks Donna, and that is most definitely true. I feel that I have actually "figured out" what I need to understand about marketing, and about "making money." But feeling that I have a handle on these things has actually made me feel more... free... in my writing ;)