If You're Going to Pursue Publication

Okay, so if you're actually going to dive head-first into the crazy journey that is publication, there needs to be a few items on your checklist. Before you query, before you send your story out into the world. They may seem obvious or even trivial, but I've learned on my own journey that these things are essential.

You need to love your story.

This is first and foremost because I honestly believe that it's the most important. Yes, there are a ton of other aspects to being an author. But more often than not publication is a battle. You're going to endure rejections, you're going to work hard, and you're going to be responsible for a whole lot more than you used to be. Okay, it's not all work and no play. There are going to be so many amazing things about being a published author. But if you're honestly going to fight for this story to one day appear on a shelf, you have to be willing to go through fire for it.

Not to mention the fact that you'll probably revise so many times that - if you don't love the story - you might be tempted to start hating it.

You need to be able to handle feedback.

I use the word feedback lightly. We all know that everyone isn't going to like our writing. Heck, one of my closest friends didn't like my book. I won't deny that it hurt. I could've let that stop me right then and there. But it won't be the first time it happens. And your agent or your editor is going to say something that'll make you cringe in embarrassment. Just today I thought, Why didn't I think of that?

And again, it probably won't be the first time. Sigh.

Lately I've been spending time browsing the reviews on Goodreads. And not the nice reviews. I've been reading the ones that rate one star and list all the problems with the book. Why do I do this? Not because I enjoy it. Sometimes I actually get irritated. It's not my book, of course, but if I happened to love that story, and that author's prose, the fact that this reviewer called it stilted and amateur clearly proves they don't know anything! Wait, sorry, back on topic. Why I read the bad reviews. I do it because I'm steeling myself. Preparing to see opinions like this on my own work. I've heard many times that writing isn't for the faint of heart, and I whole-heartedly agree. (See what I did there? Tried to be clever. Don't think I pulled it off.)

You need to have self-discipline.

If you're not a writing machine then it'll happen to you: You won't feel like doing it. Once we all have contracts or deadlines hanging over our heads, sitting down at the computer just when we feel like it might not be a luxury we can afford. There might not be enough time. So writing can become a job. Granted, an amazing, fulfilling, gratifying job. But if I spend all day Googling Vampire Diaries fan sites and don't make myself go back to that Word document at some point, nothing will get done.

Think you have what it takes? I do. Go get 'em, tiger.