How To Be An Author: Facing Discouragement

Posted at 16:55pm on 15th November 2011

If you are an aspiring author and are contemplating self-publishing your book, there are various issues to be considered.  I received an e-mail from a visitor to my website last month which highlighted some of these.

She recently self-published her book and has encountered several problems.  So over the next few days or weeks, I'm going to use Skye's letter as a means of examining them one at a time.  I hope you will find this helpful.  She wrote:

I wonder if you could offer me some advice as I am in such a pickle.  As a Christian, I felt led to write, and enjoy it immensely.  After praying, I then began to explore the idea of writing in a Christian vein to reach non Christian women.  But the stumbling blocks have been huge and I sometimes feel like giving up.

I replied:

Dear Skye, I do feel for you!  However, there's nothing new in this.  Writers, like artists in garrets, have always found it tough.  I received my first rejection slip at the age of fourteen and, having married and raised a family in between, was not published until years later!

WRITING AS A MEANS OF EARNING A LIVING?

Having, then, received commissions from Hodder and Lion, and been published for a decade or more, I took an enforced break to earn a living.  On average, 1% of writers makes a killing; 4% a living; and the other 95% pin money.

When I returned to writing full time, I found that I was, once again, on the rejection list.  Having a Sunday Times No. 4 Bestseller, and having "proved" my abilities to deliver a manuscript on time has made it no easier for me than for anyone else.  In fact, ageism is at work, and I've been told to make room for *new* writers which, in my book, is a more politically correct way of saying *younger*.

WHY DO YOU WRITE?

What you need to do, Skye, is to ask yourself why you write.  I posed this question on Facebook last week asking: would you write even if there were no money in it?  The comments were illuminating.

DO YOU & YOUR BOOK HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY?

The best one came from a commissioning editor with a major publisher.  She said that in her experience there were two kinds of writers: those who felt they had something to communicate - and who would be happy to do so in any medium: i.e. film or talks, as much as print.

OR ARE YOU A BORN WRITER?

The other type - and I quote - were: "those who would write if there was nothing left but a piece of beach and a stick."  These, she suggested, are the writers "who have to write, who would no more stop writing than they would stop eating or breathing."

May I suggest, Skye, that you need to decide which category you fall into.  It may be that blogging would suit you better than writing and publishing a book.  Or public speaking?

WHAT DRIVES YOU?

I do hope you won't simply give up.  But I'm convinced that knowing WHY you write - what drives you - is the secret of breaking through the barrier of discouragement.  In fact, writing that statement here, for you, has reminded me that I wrote an article long ago called What Drives You .

EMPOWERING SOLUTIONS

You may, also, find it helpful to take a Personality Test.  Personality profiling is a great way to discover the real you.  I hope you will find it inspirational and empowering.

Please leave your comments in the box below.  I love to hear from you.
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RELATED CATEGORIES: For further reading, click links below

ARTICLE WRITING & BLOGGING
BOOK REVIEWS & BOOK CLUB DISCUSSIONS  
CREATIVE WRITING TECHNIQUES
WRITING & PUBLISHING A BOOK

PERSONAL GROWTH & RELATIONSHIP CATEGORIES: Click links below

BEREAVEMENT
DIVORCE, REMARRIAGE & STEPFAMILIES (STEP PARENTING)
FAMILY & PARENTING 
PERSONAL GROWTH & RELATIONSHIPS (inc Personality Test & Drama Triangle

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