“Ahhhrrgghhh!” I hear writers everywhere scream in response to the title of this blog post. But it’s true. This is not intended to be a depressing post, far from it! I’d much prefer this to be a bit more on the inspiring side while giving some realistic expectations.
If you’re a writer, author, self-pubbed author, traditionally published author, bestselling author, small press, author, aspiring doodler, or someone who has leant one iota of brain power to the notion of writing a novel, you will hopefully find this post useful.
I was born in the UK and grew up watching and reading all sorts of silly nonsense that clearly shaped my personality and sense of humor, as it exists today. At 17 I moved with my parents just up the road, to the left, and across a vast amount of water to an entirely different continent, to a country called Canada where they’re fond of hockey, beavers, and maple syrup.
At 19 I went to the Vancouver Film School (a school famous for Kevin Smith never having graduated from there), and graduated with excellence from the Writing for Film and Television program. I switched to novel writing because, by god, everyone and their dog were writing a screenplay. Starbucks’ across North America were strewn with pre-hipster models frantically tapping away at their laptops hoping to become the next big Hollywood sensation. “Psh,” I said to such happenings, and instead decided to take on the more difficult task of writing a novel. After 6 years of occasionally writing the novel, something shocking happened. I finished it.
If you had told someone twenty years ago that you were busy ‘tweeting’ they would have looked at you while tilting their heads to the side in a questioning manner that suggested they were worried about your sanity.
Then followed 3 years of nothingness, a black hole filled with literary agency rejection letters, rewritten versions of the manuscript, and one disappointing slamming of the door incident after another. So I wrote another book, this one only took a year. Then Social Media became a thing and I started Tweeting. If you had told someone twenty years ago that you were busy ‘tweeting’ they would have looked at you while tilting their heads to the side in a questioning manner that suggested they were worried about your sanity.
I feel like I’m droning, am I droning? I’ll move it along, as there is a point here somewhere.
To cut to the chase, I can easily attribute my being published to Twitter (thank you tiny time-sucking blue bird). I met my first publisher, Curiosity Quills Press, because of Twitter and my first book was released in 2012 with my second following closely in 2013. I then started working with that same publishing company as an acquisitions editor, then later as acquisitions manager. Through those positions I met my agent, Mark Gottlieb (he has a wonderfully weird sense of humor) at the Trident Media Group and, through him, met my second publisher, Month9Books. At that time, I was still working a day job as a student advisor (someone who threatens convinces students into signing up for expensive schooling), which I promptly quit and went to work for a web development and marketing company where I have a fabulous time and work with awesome people, AND I get to write all day.
Most authors, and I’ve interviewed a lot of them, fall ass over backwards into a publishing contract. The right person reading your query at the write time on a particular day when the moon is ideally placed (hopefully in the sky).
I am now writing the third book in my series with Month9Books, am marketing a couple of TV pilots that had been rattling around in my head for a while, and am working on developing a comedy podcast/radio play-style show with two very dear and talented friends. I have a day job where I write constantly, read submissions for CQ Press, and a family that I completely adore.
What’s the point? I got here through perseverance and being in the right place at the right time. I know, the latter is terrible advice, but it’s true. Most authors, and I’ve interviewed a lot of them, fall ass over backwards into a publishing contract. The right person reading your query at the write time on a particular day when the moon is ideally placed (hopefully in the sky). Continuing to write and continuing to meet people, even if it’s only online, is the best way to get published. The moment you stop writing and interacting, you’re done. The days of being discovered without effort are over. The world changed, which brings me to the final point . . .
Every writer would love to be a full time author. And it’s not impossible, because I know lots who are. The literary landscape has been flattened and the playing field has been re-turfed. I state that mixed sports metaphor because self-publishing and digital publishing have changed the way books are bought, sold, and read. Being a full time author means having a consistent bestseller, which is more and more difficult to attain. And it’s not because the writing isn’t good. It’s because of that same problem, the reason I stopped screenwriting: because now everyone and their dog are writing books and getting them published (thanks Amazon).
. . . keep writing your own stuff on the side until you attain your dream or die. Guaranteed, one will precede the other.
My advice to writers is to write. Write books. Write to your friends. Write to strangers. Write on social media. You’re writers. If you want to be successful, then keep writing and eventually you’ll get what you want. I truly believe this.
My advice to writers who wish to write for a living: Find a job where you’re able to write every day and keep writing your own stuff on the side until you attain your dream or die. Guaranteed, one will precede the other.
Also, find a magic lamp with a genie in it. Those things are extremely helpful.
Welcome to the blog of Author, Andrew Buckley. Why Blogocity? Why do I need a reason? Here you’ll find updates, musings, vlogs, audio clips, images, events, and all sorts of other silly stuff. Enjoy!