I don’t know if this is true for your business, but in medicine, there are definitely types. Recently, I was sitting at the nurse’s station with several of my co-workers when this discussion came up. It is easy to tell if a nurse is going to make it in the ER within the first few shifts of their orientation. There is a certain attitude, work ethic, and demeanor that are likely consistent among ER nurses across the country.
Several experiences have led me to believe that there may also be a publishing type and I’m curious to know what others think. I’ve been quite surprised at some authorly discussions of late and wondered how there could even be controversy… yet, there is. What follows are qualities I think a writer needs to possess in order to seek publication. Notice, I didn’t say write. Anyone, literally, can put pen to paper and write. This is taking your hope, your dream, to the next level.
- Must love to read. This discussion has been raging over at a marketing loop of authors I follow. Several have complained that there are actual people who think they can craft a novel but hate reading. I find this problematic on several levels. First, I think writing is born from an enjoyment of reading. Your pulse has pounded at an author’s musings and you wonder if you could pull off such a feat. You’ll need to read extensively in the genre you hope to publish in if for no other reason than to know what’s being published. Reading in other genres will help your writing grow. Next, will be reading agent/editor’s submission guidelines. Really, the reading list is extensive.
- Must be able to multitask. Consider the following if you’re blessed enough to get a multi-book contract. Researching your next series, writing one book, and editing one (or more) novels at one time. Add to that blogging at several sites and developing your marketing strategy for your novel when it is released. Oh, and then there is likely your family, church and full-time job to add into the mix. What else should be on this list?
- Be able to organize. See #2.
- Must be able to follow direction. Agents and editors lament often about getting material they just don’t need or didn’t request. This is a waste of their time and you don’t want to be the thorn in their heel. If they ask for a one page synopsis—that’s what they actually mean and it’s not open for your interpretation. It’s not a challenge from them to you to get them to change their mind. The ability to do this will aid a lot in your developing a well-respected, professional reputation.
- You know how much more you need to learn. A continual love for learning is definitely a must if pursuing publication. I know I had a minor heart attack when my agent asked me for a book proposal. What is that?!? Recently, I was having coffee with a good friend of mine who is also a writer and we were talking about the current state of our relative manuscripts. Needless to say, we both wanted to shred them at the time. I said to her, “You know, the more I write, the more I know how much more I need to learn.” Do you feel this way? Did you feel that way after your first book was published? I think I buy more books now on the writing craft than ever before.
What are your thoughts? What qualities do you see in those who have successfully navigated the publishing road? Which would you take off my list?