In world where everything changes so fast these days, trying to work in an industry like publishing can be daunting sometimes. I received a long e-mail from a new writer over the weekend that prompted this post. She's been rejected enough times to know that getting a book deal isn't easy. But she's also confused and frustrated because of all the conflicted publishing advice she's seeing these days.
The best I could do was offer advice from what I've gathered along the way through my personal experiences in publishing. But we all have different experiences and what works for one author may or may not work for another. So there are no simple answers, and there never were and it's more complicated now. You just have to know how to figure out the good advice from the bad, and sometimes you need a little encouragement along the way.
You read crap like this and wonder, "What did I do now? My career is over." And then you realize this is only one small literary agent's opinion and she's basically putting a spin on publishing in order to keep herself relevant so she can survive all the changes that are happening.
Then you read this hyped up crap and you think, "I'm going to be rich and famous." And then you realize it's not as easy, and that this blogger is also putting a spin on publishing in order to keep himself relevant in an industry where no one can seem to predict anything solid.
This, of course, just boggles your mind. "How on earth could SHE do THAT and get away with it?" It takes longer to realize this one. But sometimes things just can't be explained. It's as plain and simple as that, so don't even bother. Wish her well and focus on what you're doing, not what someone else is doing.
Once in a while you read a publishing blogger who seems to give the right information and always sounds encouraging. Even these put a spin on things sometimes, but for the most part they help writers. And that's about as good as it gets.
But you're not alone. Most writers go through all of this and more, whether they are just starting out or just winding down. And sometimes the best way to figure it all out is to read a few words of wisdom from others who have been where you are right now.
I could list 100 inspirational quotes and one would be as good as the other. But sometimes it's best to just focus on one that seems to cover it all.
"Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen."
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
And here's a link to a book titled "The Magic of Believing," by Claude M. Bristol, I read a long time ago that I've never forgotten. I've recommended it to people for years, and I've given it as a gift more than once. Though it's not about publishing, it can be applied to publishing...or any other career. It's old, it was released long before self-help was even considered a viable genre, but it works.
Read it more than once. Read certain chapters until you actually "get" it and it finally sinks in. It might change your life in a huge way; it might not change it at all right away. But it won't hurt. And that's the only advice that's worth while.