Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Falling Down isn't always a bad thing

When we think of the word fail, we associate it with a lot of negative thoughts along with things that you can’t do now because you fail. We made a mistake and paid the price, but coming from own experience, failing can be a learning experience. I will be honest, when I realized how much I failed on my book, it at first it felt like I fall down into a bottomless pit that no one can get out of, but then I come to realize that this isn’t true. There is always a bottom to a pit and always a way out.
I basically fell for all 4 of Jane Friedman’s “The Traps Beginners Fall Into” from her book “Publishing 101: A First-Time Author’s Guide to Getting Published, Marketing and Promoting your book, and building a Successful Career” (a book that I would highly recommend!).
1. If I can’t get a deal soon, I am self publishing
It wasn’t really that I didn’t want to wait for agent or deal it was just at the time that I couldn’t due to my circumstance and age. I started my first manuscript in 7th grade when at the beginning was just a way to pass time, but grew into a passion for writing. For the next four years I worked on the novel and eventually had my first draft. After that I had my dad help me edit my book. I was only around seventeen at the time when I finally self published my first book. I was still in high school and most people that published were mainly adults. I came into a mindset that I couldn’t properly try to publish my book because agents wouldn’t take me seriously and the only option I had been to self publish.
2. I just want to get my book published
This relates to #1 a lot because the whole time I was writing my parents were pressuring me to get the book out as fast I could. They were my biggest supporters (which I was glad), but they made me believe that I should just get my book out there and if I do that I would immediately sell lots off books. This obviously didn’t happen. What happened was I first was very proud of myself and basked in the glory that I was a self-published author. I can’t describe how happy I was to have made this accomplishment. Then as time went on everything slowly turned sour, I didn’t have the same happy feeling as I first did when I self published and after two years I realized nothing had really changed. I did not really “feel” like an author any more. I think what Clay Shirky said in Jane’s book really summed up my whole experience, “In a world where publishing is effortless, the decision to publish something isn’t terrible momentous.”
3. Quality is subjective, and I don’t need a professional editor
“An editor is not a family member, a friend, an English major, or your writing group buddy. An editor is someone with professional training whose only responsibility is to ensure you produce the best book possible.”
I defiantly cut a lot of corners when making my book, this one was one of the biggest things I now regret not doing. The main reason why I didn’t get one is because of the cost. They may have been supportive of me writing, but didn’t think I needed to shell out lots of money to pay for an editor. My dad said he could do it for free and though I knew my dad would be correct all the grammar, he did not know anything about making a good story into a great one. He was a good sounding board where I could bounce off ideas with him, but he was nowhere close to the editor I really needed. May be then I would really saw how much this book really needed before actually putting it out there. I was so embarrassed on how bad it was when I took a second look at it after those two years. Of course younger me at the time thought it was perfect, but now after gaining more experience I was thoroughly wrong.
4. I just need someone to really pay attention
Did I think my book was unique? Yes.
Did I think it deserved a chance to be published? Also yes.
Did I do it the right way? Defiantly no.
It is a moment of realizing this is when you really wish time travel was possible, so you can just go back and slap your younger self. Though I have to give myself some credit, back then I thought I was doing all the right things. That things will just happen if I just do what my parents say and get my book out there. I mean they were always right before. The thing is though, parents aren’t always right. They will have the best intentions, but that doesn’t mean they know everything like we tend to believe (I know shocking). Mine sure weren’t, my dad is a lawyer and mom an elementary teacher. Sure they know a lot in their respective fields, but they never wrote a book, nor have they have any experience in the publishing industry. Heck though, I didn’t either, but that is probably the reason why I followed their advice so much, because I for the most part had no idea what I was getting into. It made me wish they taught a publishing class in high school.
        So what have I learned? I learned that life doesn’t give you stuff on a silver platter and even when you think you conquered that mountain sometimes it turns out you just fallen into a deep hole. A pit filled with insecurities, hopelessness and monsters, but let me tell you that falling down into that scary pit isn’t that bad. For me it has given me time to reflect, backtrack and re-plan what are my next steps in my writing career. Starting with taking my book off so I could re-write the manuscript. So I can make this the best manuscript I could possibly make. I know that I made mistakes, but I was young, I was hopeful and determined. Not to say there aren’t good traits, but at the same time they can lead to bad decisions if focused on the wrong thing. All writers wish to become the next James Patterson, J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, but you can’t let fantasy take over entirely because that leads to tons of mistakes. If anything please take away that.
        So if you are a first time writer and were in a situation similar to mine, I will tell you that there is still hope! So instead of thinking of this as a pit, see it as a cavern that you haven’t explored yet. You may become confused, but that is ok! Everyone is at one point confused, so may be talk to the monsters and realize not all of them are bad. You may have a long journey ahead of you, but again that is ok, at least you learned from this and are willing to try again and do it right.
This drawing was done by mnstrcndy


  1. This book was a great mention in your blog post. It’s definitely a good way to get readers to know where you are coming from and to have them interested in maybe reading the book themselves. Going through the steps was a great way to progress the story you have to tell and as a reader, I followed along and placed myself into those categories, wondering if I would “cut corners” or have someone close to me edit for me. We all make mistakes or fail at some point and the getting back up is the best part. With some help and perseverance, any writer, or anyone else, can get back out there and accomplish what they want to.

  2. The beginning of your post really hit me hard — failure absolutely terrifies me, but I always have to remind myself that it’s pedagogically sound to fail more than we succeed, at least while we’re learning. Your book sounds like it was a learning experience, and even though it didn’t work out the way you would have wanted it to, you know so much more than you did now, and that’s something to be proud of! Writing is hard, even if we’re all trying to make it look easy, and sometimes we get stuck in that pit, but there’s always a ladder to get us out!