QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Monday, July 5, 2010

Who Do You Write For?

As a pre-published author, you can write for yourself. Well, that’s not really true, because I’m sure you’re considering your target audience, but you choose your topic, your genre, whatever you want.

Literary agent Michael Bourret blogged about the pre-published author a few weeks ago. I read his post and found myself agreeing more and more, until at the end I was nodding and thinking, “He nailed it.”

Just a small snippet: “The time before you’re published is the most important part of an author’s career.”

If you haven’t read the article, you should. He goes on to say that sometimes after an author has published a book, they’re not creatively free. And at the end, he advises to enjoy this pre-published part of the journey too.

So that’s my advice today also. If you’re not under a deadline, writing a book your publisher wants you to write, if you’re sitting down and struggling through your MS, if you get to make every single choice, then enjoy that.

Enjoy the creative freedom you have. Enjoy the process. Enjoy today. And remember that your journey is your own, and it’s impossible to compare it to anyone else’s.

What do you think? Are you enjoying your creative freedom at this stage of the game? If not, how can you start doing that? And if you’re a published author, do you agree with Mr. Bourret?

Oh, and don’t forget that our contest with literary agent Suzie Townsend opens tomorrow! It’ll be open for 24 hours, and the entries are limitless! Click here for all the details.

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16 comments:

Ted Cross said...

I guess he may be partly right, but for me I know that I can do so much more with writing if only I had someone pushing me. They don't need to do so literally. If I had an agent, I would push myself much harder than I do on my own. As it stands, I write only when I can push past my own procrastination tendencies. With an agent, I would feel obligated to really get going.

Christine Danek said...

This is a great post and a great reminder. I think I need to enjoy it more. I tend to push myself along with pushing my real life. I need to realize that this is my own journey and this adventure will take time. It is unique to my like a fingerprint and only I can ride this ride. Thanks for the reminder. You made me feel that I can do this, I just have to do it my way and not to compare myself to others (even though that may be difficult). I will bookmark this as a reminder.
Thanks Elana--you rock. I will check out the article.
Thanks!

salarsenッ said...

I've heard this advice a few times: enjoy the freedom of your choices now. You answer to you. And I've spoken to a few pubbed authors who find their life now more complex then they had thought.

Thanks for the reminder, E, and for sharing the article.

Krista V. said...

Great advice, Elana (and Michael). Because the truth is, if you're not happy with where you are right now, you probably won't ever be happy with anywhere you end up.

Buffy Andrews said...

I'm totally enjoying the journey. I laugh. I cry. Sometimes my heart breaks. But no matter what, there's no other journey I'd rather be on. It's an incredible ride filled with twists and turns and hope and dreams. And I feel like when I do get an agent who wants to join me on the ride, it will be a crazy one, too. But still fun, even though challenging in new ways. But, yeah, bring it on. Great post Elana:)And good luck to everyone in their writing endeavors. I hope your journey is an exciting one and everything you want it to be.

Danyelle said...

That was a great article. So very true. Right now I'm writing with an eye towards my intended audience. I've set goals and my own deadlines so I can get used to them before they're real. :)

Taryn Tyler said...

of course I'm enjoying it. :) but anticipation for what is to come (hopefully)is a large part of that enjoyment.

Katie said...

great post E! Off to read his.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I enjoyed the post too. I've been trying to focus more on enjoying writing & meeting author friends rather than getting published, that I may not be able to control. I have great faith it'll happen at the right time. And as you know, I worry about meeting publishing deadlines, marketing, and holding down a demanding full time job with its own deadlines.

Katie S said...

I have to agree with that statement. Writers should enjoy that pre-published freedom. No matter how you publish in the end, a standard is set and readers (and your publisher) will expect certain things from you.

PaulaKayMac said...

You make a good point.

I have many genre's that I'm working on or have finished (MG fantasy, historical fiction, YA paranormal romance, YA verse). I do wonder if I'll be stuck writing in the genre that sells first (thinking positively). Will I be able to sell in another?

But for now, I do have the freedom to write whatever's in my heart. Though I would be thrilled to be published in any genre, of course.

Julie Musil said...

I totally agree with his opinion. Right now I'm completely enjoying what I'm doing. I'm playing around with different genres, seeing what I like best. I'm writing for magazines, online and print. Querying one novel and plotting the second. Everything about this is great, and I'm thankful for it.

Jordan McCollum said...

I agree, too. In fact, a year ago I wrote a sequel to a manuscript I wasn't even fully done editing because I felt like it. I know I'm taking a big risk that I "wasted" my time (aside from what I might have learned in the writing) if the first one doesn't sell—but I can do that now. I'm not a slave to deadlines yet. I don't have to worry about selling it. I could put everything I've written in a box and start fresh (hm...).

Of course, we always want to use our time wisely.

Silke said...

Good points, but I have to say... "Pre-published" is a term I have come to utterly detest.
If you have a publishing contract and your book isn't out yet, then you're "Pre-published". Any other time, you are unpublished.
Period.
Sorry, I have just seen too many writers tout "I'm pre-published." when they have trouble to finish - let alone query, or get accepted - a full manuscript.
Yup, loathe the term.
I wish people would call a spade, a spade.
Saying that, the unpublished me enjoys the time I have to create what I want. Yes, of course I know my market and know who to aim my books at, but that doesn't mean I can't diversify when I feel like it. :)

Eric W. Trant said...

I'm in that mid-phase, where I'm just beginning to get published, and just feeling the squeeze of deadlines and edits and "you can't write it that way" pressures.

It's just short stories so far, but my editor made me cut out my curse words.

Dangit. Fark. I hate that shayt.

If and when I cut a novel, it's going to be painful.

Sorta like going to med school, but instead of a cadaver to work on, the students cut into their own bellies to learn how far them intestines really will stretch.

Not sure I'm ready for that kind of pain, but hey, I asked for it!

You're right, though. It's killing my creativity. I worry if it's publishable, now, rather than if it's good and fun and interesting.

- Eric

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Yep, I'm definitely enjoying the pre-published phase. No deadline . . . other than the self-imposed but highly flexible one. :D