You know you’re not going to make it, right?

A writer’s life…

I’ve got a five year plan.

Lately, I’ve become more and more realistic about writing and publishing in this brave new world of authorship. I read a great deal about the self-publishing world and the immense effort it takes for an indie author to stay afloat in this vast sea of writers and self publishers. I watch my fellow writers blog about their Amazon marketing strategies, their Twitter blitzes, their visits to independent bookshops, courting their email subscribers, and writing up monthly or biweekly newsletters. Imagine all the time and energy that takes and it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Frankly, it’s discouraging. Gone are the days when a writer could concentrate on their craft. Poring over their manuscripts by the light of a candle or an oil lamp, gaslight, even. I want to be F. Scott Fitzgerald banging away on the typewriter at the beach house with a ubiquitous glass of whisky. The modern author is expected to self promote, market and network. That’s what agents used to be for. I don’t want to spend 90% of my time promoting myself and 10% working wearily on my next project. All the while worrying whether it has the right hook, the perfect opening lines so that it will sell. Because that is what even the traditional publishing route is looking for —a self-motivated author with mass market appeal. Oh, and don’t forget, a unique and compelling story that has never been told before. Sigh…

Since I’ve been here on WordPress, I have met so many talented people, some really exceptional writers and storytellers. I’ve seen them blog enthusiastically, begin projects, slow down and eventually run out of steam. Then, poof, they disappear. We’re not all going to make it. That’s the cold truth. All the talent in the world does not guarantee you commercial success. Only guts, determination and massive self confidence is going to win you the seat at the publishing table.

Look, I think I’m a pretty good writer, but I don’t like saying it out loud. That sentence even made me cringe. The little bit of promotion I’ve done on my blog makes me uncomfortable. I hate the idea of constantly barraging my followers with posts screaming: “BUY MY BOOKS!” I don’t want to write a biweekly email newsletter and beg everyone to sign up for it. I’m not even on Twitter! I don’t have the stomach for that. I get nauseated thinking about it. But this is the climate we live and work in today. Is there any hope for a writer like me?

Back to the five year plan. I am writing a new novel, separate from my previous series. I may even publish under a pen name. When it is complete, I will try to shop it around to an agent. Five years. That’s how long it took John Grisham to find someone to publish “A Time To Kill.” If, after five years, and no success, I will hang it up. Throw in the towel. Listen to the voices around me saying “you’re not going to make it” and move on. Let’s get real. I’ll be ok. And…

I will always be a writer, even if I am writing for an audience of one.

65 thoughts on “You know you’re not going to make it, right?

      1. I also think it’s time to rethink why we write. It’s amazing to connect with other people, but I’ve always tried to write to soothe my soul. I probably will never publish a book because I know I don’t have it in me for the self promotion. But I’ll still write nonetheless.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Running out of steam is problematic. I think that, as creators, we start with a vision. If that vision gets derailed, it’s so deflating that we sometimes come close to giving up. I know that I’ve come close.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vision definitely. And the process. That is what I think overwhelms a lot of writers. To do all the things necessary to promote yourself, you have to have a certain kind of personality. I’m pretty sure I don’t have it! So I’m trying to set a goal/limit to the experiment and if it fails, I will simply write for pleasure (and hopefully for those of you who read my stuff here!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The measurement of success is strange, and seems to get stranger each year.
    If looking at bloggers, there are some who have tens of thousands of followers and yet rarely blog anything of their own work, they are just good at self promotion, but do serve to share others’ work. There are also those who publish vast quantities of their own work, and yet, in my view, most of it is rubbish and readers are too polite to let them know. And then (I never start a sentence with AND) there are the vast majority who blog mainly for their own enjoyment and self satisfaction. If some is good, if some is read, and enjoyed by others, all well and good. That is a bonus.
    I enjoy what I do. I enjoy what you do. I enjoy what a lot of others do.

    In my opinion, Meg, and it’s obvious that others agree, you ARE a talented and successful author.

    Hugs, and here’s hoping for the big time!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Peter! I hope this post didn’t come across as too discouraging. I’m not really discouraged, but I am trying to be realistic. I think even best selling authors of the past would find this new climate a tough one if they were just starting out. Commercial success really is no reflection of your level of talent. That is apparent by the books I read AND by the blogs I read. I know I will never warm up to self promotion so if I am unable to find an agent to help with that, I am doomed. With that being said, I will carry on with writing anyway: here on the blog at a minimum and perhaps in self publishing but just for fun.

      Thanks for the hug, Peter! You’re the best!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. You speak of the reality of the publishing industry today. It gets harder for newbies each day. Me? I’m drowning trying to market myself, leaving little time to write. Crazy. Its rough waters out there, but you wear many hats and have successfully surfed the waves so I believe you will stay afloat.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Darnell. No I haven’t given up hope, yet. But it may come to the point where I write for enjoyment, post and publish just for fun and set aside the idea of writing fiction as a career. Who knows, maybe that’s when I’ll get discovered! And don’t you give up on it either. It is a long run not a sprint!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. For what it’s worth, I think you are a good writer. Dialogue has always been the hardest part of writing stories for me, but you seem to have mastered it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. My biggest weakness is marketing. It’s difficult to find the balance and not be over-bearing with promotion. You are right, there are just so many books out there that it is near impossible to get noticed. It can be frustrating and overwhelming.
    My approach is that I enjoy writing and I think my work is worth reading. If I ever get to the point where either of those things is no longer the case, then I will stop.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is a great approach. And I feel the same – the minute I stop enjoying it, it’s time to move on. I do sometimes wish I were born in another time, though! Ah, well, we make the most of what we have. Write on…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree, the last line says it all! I relate to much of this in principle, and I’m sure it’s discouraging! Definitely makes you reevaluate, which includes what your time is worth, and the quality of that time. You’ll always be a writer! (A damn good one).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, thanks, Angela! Time is indeed a concern. If the writing is for my own enjoyment, then it needs to be in balance with performing the necessary functions of life. In this time of transition, I will have to figure that out!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Like someone already said, you’ve already made it. You’ve published several more books than many many aspiring authors. There’s a lot of people that talk about writing books but never do it. For all of eternity the name Meg Sorick has a little section in the worlds bookstore.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    Never quit. I’ve been told I’m a good writer, but I’m afraid to put it out there. I’m putting together a collection of short stories and I am hoping for the best with it. I don’t want to self-publish another book. Even at my age, I’m taking the advice of a good friend and not quitting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Never quit as long as you’re enjoying yourself. I’m going to try traditional publishing this next time around, but my loathing for self promotion has made me realize I am not going to be one of those ‘successful’ self published authors. Unless something weird happens and I get discovered accidentally! Anyway, best of luck with your short stories! I hope you find an agent and a publisher!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. In some ways, Meg, nothing has changed. Firstly, if you don’t write that novel, there’ll be nothing to promote, anyway. So focus on that. Blog when you feel like it, but the novel comes first.
    Secondly, the majority of people that write novels never get an agent or a publisher. It was always that way, but at least we can self-publish now if we want. Then promote as much or as little as we want.
    Thirdly, even if you get a contract, nowadays the author is expected to do a huge amount of promotion, anyway.
    So perhaps just treat the promotion as a bit of a bonus, a privilege. Hey, I’ve got a book! Anyone interested?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is true, Mick. I’ve read that an agent will check to see what sort of marketing apparatus you already have in place as a factor to decide on taking you on. Ehhh… Well, I’ll try the whole agent query thing with the next book and see what happens. I can see myself promoting a little in the beginning and getting sick of it fast!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m trying to journal my feelings now too. Right now it’s kind of depressing but I’m Having some good days and going out some with friends or family. I know I’ll be happy again someday. I’m giving myself two years to gain a new purpose in life.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, Dee, I’m so sorry. It’s so important to have friends and family surround you and fill those gaps in your time. You will be happy again, but also allow yourself to grieve at your own pace. Everyone goes about it just a little differently so take your time. Sending love! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Looks like *You* have quite the fan club. *You* wrote, *You* edited, *You* got your work published. *You* did this five times. You are on humanity’s bookshelf. Keep on writing as long as it gives you pleasure. Personally, I hope you keep goin’ and goin’ – just like the Energizer bunny but with a keyboard instead of that blasted drum. Don’t be shy to edit it out but judging from the response this post got there are a lot of people who are in awe of Mighty Meg.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hope to keep writing as well. Lots of good ideas simmering in my scattered brain. This post was mostly just a realistic look at commercial success in the current climate of publishing and book selling and how talent seems to be less important than your marketing skills. I have my plan and if it doesn’t come to fruition I will adjust. As always, thanks Tom for kind words and your support!

      Like

  11. You spoke nothing but the truth.

    This line of yours “ All the talent in the world does not guarantee you commercial success. Only guts, determination and massive self confidence is going to win you the seat at the publishing table.”—-really resonated with me.

    Talent is only responsible to taking you a few floors up but what brings you to the top is your guts to succeed.

    Present day times is definitely tougher than that of the past. Everything is so fast paced and everything is easily accessible.

    The competition around is immense and they have became gutsy. I think the key to success is not giving up.

    Competition is the best muse to inspire one’s thoughts in order to create something beautiful and something unique.

    Great blog post. I really enjoyed this one.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I know you wrote this last month, but I’ve just found this post and it’s all I’ve been feeling and more. It really doesn’t make sense to go the traditional publishing route anymore, because they expect the author to do all the promoting and marketing while still taking a large cut. Very disappointing.

    I think you’ve got a good following on your website with people commenting consistently. Once your novel is (self) published, you don’t really have to stress about it – so long as you’re not relying on it to pay your bills right away.

    Also, if you need a second pair of eyes to look over the final draft of your manuscript, I’m available. I like your style 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah thanks. Well I’ve already written and self published five novels so far. I’ve had them professionally edited, and the first one even won first prize in Writers Digest’s self published book awards last year. Alas, not even that translates to sales. You nearly have to be a full time marketer in the current environment. Thanks for your kind words. I’m still soldiering on!

      Like

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