3 Lies We Tell Ourselves That May Be Holding Back Success

Writing for Children Blog | craft | marketing
April 28, 2016

By Jan Fields

1. You can't sell a book unless you have platform, contacts, or a bestseller already.

On the surface, this lie can be comforting because it means that failing to
sell isn't our fault. But this is also a self-defeating lie. If we don't
believe we have a shot, why shoot? Also, this belief leaves writers open to
being preyed upon by unscrupulous "publishers" and "agents" who act as if
this lie is true and then offer to treat authors "right." Usually these
sorts treat you right out of your money and still leave you with
disappointments (which they often cheerfully blame on you).

The truth? Publishers publish books by first time authors every single year.
Even the really big publishers frequently publish first time authors. The
key to selling is writing a book the company will feel is a wise investment.
And educating yourself about the market so you don't get snared in the traps
of cheats.

2. Readers don't care about spelling and grammar. They just care about story.

On the one hand, this is fairly true. Readers don't care about spelling and
grammar because it's INVISIBLE when it's done correctly. They care a lot
when it makes a manuscript hard to read and jars the reader out of the
reading "spell" we fall under with a really good book. The point behind
spelling, punctuation and grammar rules are that they make communication
possible and smooth. Really, that's all they're for. They are the tools of
our trade - the most basic of the tools in our toolbox. Without them, we
cannot communicate in a way that gives the reader ease. And ease is
essential if we want the reader to lose himself in our story.

If you want more writing instruction like this, plus lots of tips and great resources, click here!

3. I don't have the time or the money to be a writer.

There are a lot of reasons not to be a writer. Writing is a tough business.
It can be really hard on one's ego. It isn't the most lucrative way to make
a living for the vast majority of us. And every step in the process has its
own challenges and ouchy bits. But it's also one of the most inexpensive of
the arts. The tools cost very little and mostly we have them on hand because
we use them for other things. Sure, instruction can be expensive, but it
isn't essential to spend money to learn - not as long as you have a public
library and an internet connection. And these days, even submission is often
free since so many markets prefer electronic submissions.

But what about time? Well, the reality is that if you write one thousand
words a WEEK, you'll have a good solid middle grade or young adult novel at
the end of the year. That's less than one page for every work day. If you've
never had time to write but think you have a novel in you - go ahead and
determine to write in one page increments. If you're a mom, write your
one-page in long hand while you wait for one of the zillion things we moms
seem to wait for. Don't decide to write the book - just decide to write the
page. Today. And then when you get up tomorrow, decide to write one page.
Just one. Before you know it, you've written a book. Turns out you had
enough time after all.

If you want more writing instruction like this, plus lots of tips and great resources, click here!

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