Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Why Does a Writer Want to Be Published?

This morning, over on the BookEnds blog, literary agent Jessica Faust asks writers what makes them seek publication. Why do we go through the pains of seeking the publication of our stories? Why do we throw our shoulders back and plant our feet, knowing we will be getting lots of rejection letters? Sometimes our feet get in the door a little ways when an agent or editor asks to see a partial. Then they reject our wonderful story based on opening chapters and a synopsis. If we are lucky, we may get a request for a full. It's heart-wrenching when it is returned with a 'thanks but no thanks'.

Why do we put ourselves through it?

When I walk into a bookstore and my eyes scan the rows of novels, a sense of awe and longing overcomes me. It is difficult to explain the feeling. I'm sure I'm not the only writer that feels this way. The question that comes to my mind the most is this. How did all these writers get past all the roadblocks and make it to publication? There could be a hundred answers to that question, but one thing is certain...they did not give up.

Author Michelle Moran is an example of not throwing in the towel. She wrote 13 novels before having one accepted. You can read about her writing journey on Stepping Stones Magazine in the June issue. She is one of the most interesting writers you will ever encounter.

Anyway, the writing process is an incredible adventure. But when I write 'the end' and have polished a story, a stark white manuscript is not an end in itself. I can't let that stack of paper sit on my desk collecting dust. I seek publication because I am compelled to see my story as a 'book'.

Why do I want to be published? Perhaps to affirm that what I'm doing, all the time I've put into writing, is worth it. Perhaps it is to scratch out a bit of a living. But more so, it is because I want to take people away from their daily grind to an imaginary place where they can escape the world for a while.

I want to have the same effect on readers as Charlotte Bronte had on me when I first read Jane Eyre.


Cal said...

Great post and so true


Sharon A. Lavy said...

I like the way you write. I like your blog. Blessings~~

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I think many Christian authors seek publication because they feel God has given this story to them to help many, not just themselves. It's a way of fulfilling not only their dream to see their work in print, but to be used as an instrument through which God works.

That's my take, anyway.

Great post!

Celia Yeary said...

I don't think any writer can answer that question. Called by God? Probably not me, but called by God not to waste my years of freedom doing nothing? Watching TV all day? Meeting friends for lunch? Stop learning because I no longer need to work to put food on the table and children through school? Yes, to all that. My friends and acquaintnaces don't seem to understand, but they seem to envy. Month ago, in an issue of Romance Writers Magazine, an author said she had been rejected 48 times over a period of twenty years--something like that, so she quit. So, she thought. She couldn't she was so compelled to put words on a page, so to be happy, she had to take it up again. Finally, she was published! By then, she said she really didn't care that much--she just needed to write.Go figure. Celia Yeary

Bonnie Leon said...

The path of a writer is one full of heartbreak, but when the sun comes out it shines brightly.



Chiron O'Keefe said...

For me the desire for publication is linked to the desire for communication.

It's not enough to talk to myself. *smile* I want to share with others. To communicate...


Miss Mae said...

I've often asked myself that same question. Why isn't it enough to just write? Why do we want the publication part? You know, for me, I think it might be because--before publication--when someone asked me what I did (for an occupation, living, etc.) and I answered, "I write", the inevitable question was always, "Oh. Are you published?" Like I wasn't "real" or a bonafide writer until I reached that "genuine" level called publication. Now that I am published--and I thank God I am--I enjoy hearing back from readers how much they enjoyed the story. That's icing on the cake...:)


MissDaisyAnne said...

I may never be published, but I will continue to write...I have to.