The Chutes and Ladders of Getting Published

Here I am playing Chutes and Ladders (Dora and Boots style) with my 4 year old and it occurs to me that getting published is much like the ups and downs of this game.

There are many ups:

  • Finding that you have readers on your blog or followers on your twitter page/fan page, etc, i.e. getting a big round head over it all, floating aloft, and then shouting at yourself,  “Back to Earth! Back to Earth!” with vigor and vim.
  • Discovering you love to read to the kids at the local library, attend conferences, or network with others in the field. Maybe you love to visit schools and teach about literacy or writing. Then you beat yourself up for telling a five year old to eavesdrop on the company and then write about it.
  • Getting a response from an agent or a request for your first pages maybe a full.
  • Getting good critique or feedback from another author or your critique group. Then noticing all the typos on the page that nobody mentioned!
  • Publication. Seeing your book in print and getting so excited you run around like a mad man or woman telling everyone about it. (Some days I wish I could teleport myself to this stage but then I’d miss out on all the fun and I wouldn’t gain one drop of mercurial mileage or  literary experience).
  • Readathons. There are so many awesome books out there and never enough time to read them all. Moderation is key…No chuck that. No moderation. Splurge while you can!
The in-betweens. We shall call them Limbo:
  • Getting lost in the mighty and rotund blogosphere. Reading up on writing until we are ready to hang ourselves or run amok among the silliness we have become/created and the writing we have failed to do.
  • An over abundance of contests. These are fun, but generally make me feel like I’m running in circles–an errand girl or boy–with holes in my shoes, no ink in my pen, and no time for brainstorming.
  • Facing the challenge that publishers, editors and agents are NOT big bad wolves that devour book contracts or books–they are book lovers just like us who want to see the market grow, grow, grow…EVERYWHERE. They really are rooting for ya. Just make sure you have a fabulous superific book first. Right-o! Cheerio! Whatever.
  • Discovering you must keep your day job or do a fundraiser…better yet, marry and let the spouse grow the money tree. i.e paper, printer, computer, pens, notepads, hotel fare, gas, and everything else.

There are plenty of downs:

  • Getting a form rejection– at some point you have to like it. Share the love, buy a frame for them.
  • Procrastination is sweeter as you get closer to a deadline, so close you can hug it–skewing the line between suddenly-next-year and swiftly-tomorrow is a favorite past time of many authors. Wait! What! You didn’t get it? Oh…my bad. It’s still saved in my e-mail drafts or under the pet bed.
  • Avoiding BIC–soreness never was better for the tush than when faced with that deadline. I suppose this is the best plan any author can have when they are avoiding “the plan”.
  • Vague critique, or even better, waiting for it to come to you (wait does this mean my MS was so chuck-it horrible my critique partner is STILL figuring out a way to cushion the blow?)
  • My spouse/mother/BFF enjoyed my MS? Wait! Oh no. I was warned about this one!
  • Carpel tunnel, tendonitus (who needs thumbs to type with or write…who needs wrist muscle), 24 hours of sore booty, blood shot eyes, drowsiness. Chocolate addictions.
  • Thoughts of failure. Get a kick out of it while you can. Likely this is temporary and more often than not this belongs in Limbo and is highly sectional and clearly subjective to OPINION or the Classifieds.
  • Lots of trial and error here. Often a little luck and a lot of patience is needed in Writer Land.
What are your ups and downs?


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4 responses to “The Chutes and Ladders of Getting Published

  1. This is one of the best analogies to writing I've heard in a while! So true. Next time I play Chutes and Ladders with my kids I'll be thinking about what you wrote!

  2. Hey Angela, love this post!!! So true, all of it. How about:Ups: Attending fantastic online conferences (WriteOnCon!!!) and meeting up with wonderful people who give you such great feedback on your stories/queries :)Limbo: Stalking – I mean following – lots of agents' blogs in search of that elusive edge…Down: Calling a form rejection a "decline" in your head to soften the blow :(And of course (down): Getting all excited about your latest manuscript and sending it out to agents to a resounding chorus of…silence (*crickets chirp*)Then (up): Revising and sending that same manuscript out again to other agents…more excitement!!!Ah, the life of a writer. Wouldn't live without it… :)Rach

  3. Lydia: Thanks!Rachael: LOL. You are too funny! I have so enjoyed your presence at the WriteOnCon! We writers are a fine bunch! Many thanks of course go out to the founders and all who put in time to make it AWESOME!