Thursday, June 22, 2006

It takes a village…

No, I’m not talking about raising children, although if anyone has a spare village, send the villagers over, and I’ll put 'em to work. Or rather, the boys will. I’m talking about writing a book and then getting it published. Certainly I could self-publish anything I want. I can write what I want, slap on a cover, and then attempt to market and sell it (not to say that my first attempt was in any way slipshod). But I’d have trouble. There are so many books out there right now that bookstores can’t stock all of them and you may not be able to find the ones you’re looking for. There are so many people who want to write, who want to become published authors, that the competition is fierce. And these people are smart and savvy--they're doing their homework.

There have always been classes, conferences, and critique groups, but now there are blogs. Blogs about absolutely everything. Published authors (or soon-to-be-published authors) are writing about their books, but they’re also blogging about writing techniques, and navigation strategies in the tricky world of publishing. Agents are blogging, giving insider tips on how to fine-tune your manuscript and really understand the nature of the business. Even booksellers are blogging with their unique perspective. Everyone has an idea of where the industry is going and what it needs. Everyone has their own idea of what craft techniques work best. Everyone wants to tell you which rules simply can’t be broken, and then everyone ooh’s and aah’s over someone who broke them.

I’m learning so much from all the generous, kind-hearted souls that take the time to blog and answer questions, but I almost feel as if I should take a hiatus from my recently diagnosed blog addiction. Maybe I should just write and see what works for me. I’m supposed to be writing: my debut was published in Dec. ’04, so we’re right at a year and a half, and the second one is not done yet. Not surprisingly, some recent advice has spurred me to tighten the first several chapters, so I’m back to editing. I also have Self-Editing for Fiction Writers on my nightstand, so I'll need to see where that takes me. Add to that the four fiction books I have out from the library that I’m dying to dig into--for research purposes.... There is simply not enough time in the day.

If only I had a village to raise my kids…

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