Another Perspective on Publishing Odds (Or, what's the likelihood I'll earn enough to eat?)

I returned home last night from several days at the beach, one of which involved an awesome writing conference on the Oregon coast called Summer in Words. Amazing insights were ripe for picking. Now I'm pumped and raring to go again. Nothing like a boatload of inspiration to get me back on track. I highly recommend hanging out at a conference if you need to amp up your energy. What writer doesn't now and again? Face it, this can be a lonely and discouraging occupation.

Especially if you get hung up on the bleak stats, like those I posted in my Tuesday Tantrum about Stats that Suck.

Now, here's an antidote. Kristin Lamb blogs about all things writerly and kindly posted a lovely article about how not to drown in those odds. She notes that probably three quarters of Americans want to write a book. Hundreds of thousands will pick up a pen or open a blank word doc and start writing that novel. How many will finish? Maybe 5%. And the field narrows from there. Only 5% of people who finish a novel will go to a conference. And only a few will do other things to better their odds: read some books on craft; revise, revise, REVISE; write another book; keep querying when rejected; build a platform . . . (insert any number of other steps a writer can take to increase the chances of success).

So, keep this in mind when you're on the ledge, about to scrap your dreams, ready to quit and go back to the real world.

Or, as author Randall Platt challenged the attendees at her Summer in Words workshop: How long are you planning on living?

This is the dream. It's hard work to manifest that dream. And that makes success all the tastier.

1 comment:

  1. It can be discouraging, but in the end those percentages are right. It takes perseverance and dedication and honing the craft--something that few are willing to put in.