QueryTracker Blog

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Perks of Being Unpublished

Today's guest blogger, Lisa Aldin, reminds us why the grass is pretty green on this side of the fence, too!

Aw, to be published. It's the dream. To be able to hold your book bound and pretty in your hands. To flip through the pages, overwhelmed with new book smell. To run your fingers along your words. To know strangers might be doing this same thing at this very moment, breathing in your characters, your story, feeling inspired. Changed.

Aw, to be published. To see your book along the shelves. Or in the e-book store.

But it ain't easy.

And for those of us on the other side of the agented/book deal/published fence, still digging our way to success, breaking every fingernail in the process, let's stay positive, shall we?

The grass in Agented/Published Land is greener. Sure. We can see that. Why else would we want over there? But we've got things over here that they don't got. A keg, for one. Just kidding...actually, we have kegs full of melted CHOCOLATE.

Check it out:

1) No Deadlines. No one's waiting for me to finish this manuscript. Okay, I should probably finish it. But life gets in the way. And I can let it without a panic attack. I can keep LIVIN. L-I-V-I-N. My financial situation will not in any way suffer because of my procrastination. I like to think of this as a GOOD thing.

2) Legal Issues. I want to use some Beatles lyrics in my story. I don't care if I'm allowed to. Maybe I would care if I had an agent. Or I had a book deal. But now? Nope. Don't care. It's going in there. And from these lyrics could sprout a new storyline. Or character. Or something magical. A Yellow Submarine, perhaps. I do what I want, screw copyright issues.

3) No Pressure. I don't have to worry about sucking too badly. I don't have to worry about letting my agent down and getting dropped. Because I don't have one yet! Suckage away! For now. But then edits come...

4) No Bad Reviews. Ugh. Not to say all authors get these, but I imagine someone, somewhere, whether it be a reader posting a review on Amazon, might hate your story. Sad to think about, I know. But it happens to the best of 'em. But not my problem! Because only a handful of people will even read it right now!

5) Freedom. This sort of goes with No Pressure. But basically I could have my main character streaking throughout the whole novel with few worries. In fact...*edits manuscript quickly.*

6) Brand-Free. One minute, I want to write YA paranormal. The next, YA contemporary. No, a thriller. Wait...something literary. Maybe some women's fiction? A graphic novel? I'm not branded yet. I can jump around all I want. I can still DECIDE WHO I WANT TO BE AS A WRITER. Exploration! Yes! No marketing marks on me, my friend. The sky is the limit.

7) What-the-Heck Moments. Eh. What the heck. Add in that pink unicorn. See #8.

8) For My Eyes Only. No one's asking to see this. Expectations are pretty low for the slush pile.

9) Catch and Release. Seen this movie? One of the very cute characters is a photographer. He said he loved taking pictures...until he started getting paid for it. Now I have no idea if this is true or not, but I see his point. We are writers because we write. No because we get paid for it. Alright, so it would be awesome to get paid for it...But writing without any sort of agent or deal is still FUN and HONEST and TRUE. And things can only get better.

Have any to add? Please do! And I'm sure agented/book deal/published authors are just grinning. Because they've got that green, green grass.

But we've got the chocolate keg! Party on!

Lisa Alden's current project is a YA Paranormal project called The Moon Dog Inn.

21 comments:

Stephanie McGee said...

6 is my favorite. (There must be something in the water because I blogged about it yesterday.)

I adore having the freedom to explore and experiment to find my own voice. I might still be looking for my voice, but I know it's there and with time I'll find it.

Heather said...

I love looking at posts like this! Sometimes it's hard to see the benefits of life on this side of publication.

Although I'm not sure that 1 is really a benefit for me. I work best with a deadline, so I try to set them for myself, which I inevitably push back...

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Thanks, Lisa, for the reminders of the perks from our side of the fence. :)


One other perk is that we don't have to worry about marketing ourself just yet. We can if we want, but it isn't essential.

Stina Lindenblatt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erica Chapman said...

Love it!! I have many What-the-Heck moments. Love #6 & #1 too ;o) Great post!

Vegetarian Cannibal said...

I agree! Writing as a business takes all the fun out of it, methinks. I write as a hobby, not to make my livelihood. I have a certain point of view and I don't give a crap if it's "marketable" or not. That's not the point!

I just got my first single-title work accepted *sigh* and the promo work begins. I liked when I didn't have to go through the hassle of "promoting" myself.

Katiebabs/ KB said...

No money though.

Elana Johnson said...

Awesome post!! And I long for number 7.

Kristi Helvig said...

I love this list--it makes me feel so grateful to be unpublished. ;) I really do love the freedom that I have now though, and realize that will change on the other side of the fence. Thanks, Lisa!

Eric W. Trant said...

All that freedom is one reason I haven't actively sought publication. Then, in 2009, I decided WTH, and got a short published without a single edit!

Just like I wrote it.

Then they took a second short, and it was shred-n-cut edited, even had to change the title and remove my curse words.

I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but it wasn't my story anymore. The private eyes-only copy is still there, in my vault, but even for little works like short stories, you sacrifice your freedom.

I guess there's a reason they say published books are "bound" rather than "unhinged." Get it?

- Eric

MOLLYC said...

BRAVO

Julie Musil said...

Love, love, LOVE this post! It's a great reminder to just be happy with where we are, even though we're pushing to move forward. Thanks!

GREGORY WALTERS said...

Go for the streaker character! If you can't print Beatles' lyrics I'm sure Ray Stevens will let you quote "The Streak".

Keep at it!

KaraLee said...

This is a great post, Lisa. I wrote many books before deciding to pursue publishing. I felt much freer writing just for myself--no rules, no pressure. I wrote a lot more, too, because I didn't have to spend time doing revisions. Plus writing was a free hobby back then: no conference fees or RWA and SCBWI membership dues. Since deciding to pursue publication, though, I have made dozens of wonderful friends and my writing skills have improved so much, I could never go back. Good luck to you and The Moon Dog Inn.

Kathryn Magendie said...

oh, I remember those days *wistful sigh* . . .

Loved this post - made me laugh because of so many truths attached to it! :-D

(here from twitter)

Martha said...

Lots to be said for this post. I think I loved my book more before my agent had a whip to my back.

Melissa Sarno said...

Love your post! It's so true that being unpublished or unagented has it's perks and you tell it in such a hilarious way. Thanks!

Jessica said...

I love number 3, 4, and 5. This is such a good post.

Bree L Bailey said...

What a GREAT way to look at it from the (kegger) side of the fence!

Erin Kane Spock said...

Now I have to add a pink unicorn.
Thanks for the pick me up -- it was needed.

Julie said...

Thanks for the reminder to enjoy the process! Sometimes we get so hung up on getting it done and getting it out there, we forget how much fun it is...

Great, funny post!
Julie Johnson
www.busywriting.net