“I’d Be Published, But” Guest Post by Mary DeMuth

Girls With Pens is thrilled to welcome a special guest blogger today–Mary DeMuth. Mary is the author of 12 books, and was a Christy Award finalist in 2010. She’s recently been interviewed by Randy Ingermanson on his blog (and reprinted by Steve Laube). She writes “so that people don’t feel alone anymore.”

Take it away Mary . . .

Mary Demuth Watching the DandelionsWatching the Tree Limbs and Wishing on Dandelions are my first two novels. I spent years and years writing before that break came. I practiced Malcolm Gladwell’s advice to write 10,000 hours. I attended conferences. I submitted to several critique groups. I entered contests. I wrote and wrote and wrote. Recently I downloaded my writing journey and advice into an ebook entitled The 11 Secrets of Getting Published. In that book, I have a section entitled “I’d be published, but…” Below is one of my favorite entries.

I’d be published, but the writing journey is discouraging and hard.

David writes:

I don’t really want to take years to build a platform to be able to sell for non-fiction that I really don’t want to write to convince some editor or agent to give my fiction a chance. Don’t mind me; it’s Cynical Monday. Happens almost every Monday, after a weekend of probably spinning my wheels, trying to be a published writer.

I love your humor, David. May I say that laughter and the ability to infuse levity into this crazy journey is one of the most important traits a writer can have?

Even with a lighthearted view, it is true that the writing journey is full of plain old hard work. Building a platform takes a long time. Doing so will certainly help you when your nonfiction book is being bantered about in publishing committee. Want to know a tiny secret though? I didn’t have a huge platform when I published my nonfiction. My first book was written in conjunction with Hearts at Home, a ministry that had its own huge platform.

My second book zeroed in on a felt need: those parents who didn’t want to duplicate the homes they were raised in. And, at that time, there were no books addressing that kind of parental stress. The third parenting book did this as well, helping parents navigate a postmodern world.

So it is possible to write nonfiction books without a huge platform. The books need to be:

  • Unforgettable. They have to stun an editor.
  • Unique. They cannot be a re-hashed version of what’s already sold.
  • Hole-filling. In other words, your book must fill a hole in the market that’s not yet been filled.
  • Full of great voice. Your voice, which, hopefully, is unique, should woo the reader.

In terms of fiction, don’t write a book to impress anyone other than yourself. Write the book of your heart. Write it with passion and vigor and joy.

Well, David, it’s Tuesday now, so I’m assuming you’re past Cynical Monday. Set a word count goal this week and meet it. Keep plodding. Keep submitting. Writing’s not glamorous most of the time. Like ditch digging, it’s just a lot of hard work.
11 Secrets of Getting PublishedIf you’d like to learn everything I know about traditional publishing and you only have a few bucks to spare, consider purchasing my $2.99 ebook, The 11 Secrets of Getting Published.

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0052ENSVC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwrelevantpr-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399349&creativeASIN=B0052ENSVC
Nook: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-11-Secrets-of-Getting-Published/Mary-DeMuth/e/2940012611758?itm=1&USRI=the%2B11%2Bsecrets%2Bof%2Bgetting%2Bpublished
PDF: http://www.marydemuth.com/store/the-11-secrets-of-getting-published-2-99-ebook/

Meet me around the web:


For a chance to win The 11 Secrets of Getting Published, share your excuse. Fill in the blank: I’d be published but ______________. Entries will be accepted in the comments until 5 pm EST on Wednesday, July 13.

And stay tuned. This month’s book giveaway is extra special because we’ll also be giving you a chance to win a copy of Mary’s novels Watching the Tree Limbs and Wishing on Dandelions.

40 comments on ““I’d Be Published, But” Guest Post by Mary DeMuth

  1. My excuse is time – a know I need to prioritize. But I have so many other things that I love and feel called to do. I am on the run right now to a VBS – so no time to think, let alone write. I have 4 wonderful grandchildren, 3 x 2 children (spouses) and a loving husband. I volunteer as well. And I am getting grayer. lol:)

    But I press on because somewhere inside is still the urge to speak God’s word – whether in church, or the street or in print. Heading to Poland in a week and a bit for a two week mission trip. I will try to feel the experience so I can write about it.

    Great post.

  2. Great post. Very spot on. And I can feel Journeytoepiphany’s pain…I’m struggling to keep my muse on one story long enough to finish it right now. Anyone have a whip? 😉 Thanks
    C.K. Volnek

  3. I’d be published, but . . . honestly my writing just isn’t good enough yet.

    But I’m getting there! More technique books, critique groups, and articles like this, please. It’s only a matter of time, right? 🙂

    • I’ve come to see my rejection letters as encouragement that I am actually doing what I want to do…write and put it out there. Sometimes it’s accepted. Sometimes it isn’t, but I’m pursuing my dream either way.

  4. I’d be published but I’ve hit a writer’s block for my second novel. As a writer, one of the hardest things to over come is the writer’s block. With patience and dedication, I will over come and finish my novel.

    • I have to admit that I’m a little afraid of success too, Debbie. What if I write an amazing first book and can never live up to it? What if I can’t keep up with all the new technology that’s necessary to market these days? I think the key is to set priorities and then just do the best we can.

  5. I’d be published, but I don’t spend enough time on my writing. I work, go home, and get caught up in reading. I know God has given me the talent and I want to write for His glory. I need to follow Mary’s advice and set up a word count goal each week. I’m single, so I don’t really have an excuse for not writing. The writing doesn’t get better if you don’t challenge yourself each week. It’s hard, but rewarding when you have arranged the words in just the right way so that you know you have God’s smile.

  6. I’d be published, but I’ve only just started blogging five days ago…although I have been blessed abundantly with words and word pictures for decades. My mom tells me I “started talking at 16 and haven’t shut up since!” Is that a bad thing?

  7. I’d be published, but it’s hard to write with two toddlers on my lap. I am working on building my platform (via my blog) for the day that I managed to finish and sell a novel… and try to keep writing short stories and article when I’m not working on that novel. Not sure I have a nonfiction book in me, but then, I’ve written lots of other things I said I wouldn’t, so who knows! 🙂

  8. I’d be published but it is not time yet. I am learning everyday the work I am in need of accomplishing to get the manuscripts to the publisher. Got your e-book “Nonfiction Book Proposals that Grab an Editor or Agent by the Throat (in a good way!)”– and I am working through creating a platform and my bio of why I am qualified to write the book I am writing.Therefore, even though I really want to get it to the market, I realize I still have so much more to do then to write the book itself.

  9. “I’d be published, but everyone at the publishing house is reading it and can’t put it down!”

  10. I’m already published, BUT… when I moved into a different genre, I got stuck.

    I’m not more published because I’m too busy and too tired and too afraid of failure and too non-confident and too undisciplined and because I haven`t prioritized well.

    I’m not more published because life is so complex and I don’t know how to juggle all the necessary balls.

    I’m not more published because writing doesn’t bring in much income (yet) and a girl has to make a living.

    I’m not more published because writing is a very large pile of very hard work. I’m not more published because I haven’t fixed my eyes on that goal firmly enough to get me through that hard work.

    I`m not more published because I`ve believed the enemy`s lies that I can`t…..

    But by God`s grace, I WILL write and publish more of my work!

  11. I’d be published, but I procrastinated with the process of active engagement. Specifically, I fell short of submitting any proposals.

    As the saying goes, I’ve been there and done that in terms of conferences, meeting with agents and editors, and participating with critique groups. I have researched and investigated and, and, and…

    I received great feedback on my work all the way around, however, I got stuck in the “not good enough” mode. (0-o) That internal voice…it can sure do a number on you. Yikes!

    Well, I am now ready to go live with active engagement. I am powered up. I am in prayer. I am ready to do this thing. Yeah!!! Anywho, it’s like my granny always said, “Nothing beats a fail but a try.”

    Mary, thanks for your encouragement, resources, and generosity. You are very much appreciated.

  12. I spend a lot of time trying to shut up that voice that says. “you’re not good enough, don’t even bother, someone else has already written it better than you could anyway.” Why am I not published? f e a r. *sigh*

  13. I’d be published but I’m afraid of success.

    Yes, success. I’m not afraid of failure — I’ve got plenty of experience there. But it’s the other side of the coin that terrifies me.

  14. When fear strikes hard at me, I turn to two songs: “I will not be moved” by Natalie Grant, and “Whatever you’re doing” by Sanctus Real. Here’s my favorite lyrics from the second song

    ♫Time to breathe in and let everything out that I’ve wanted to say for so many years, time to release all my held back tears. Whatever you’re doing inside of me, it feels like chaos but I believe, you’re up to something bigger than me, larger than life, something heavenly.♫


  15. I’m with Kimberley and her fears … having to promote a book if I wrote one, too much visibility, too many people tugging at my sleeve… I sort of enjoy plugging away in the shadows.

    Anyway, as someone who has watched Mary some years now, that book for 2.99 has to be a steal! She has such a strong work ethic, and is such an acclaimed writer I didn’t resist. Her book now lives in my Kindle! Mary, I’m prepared to be wowed and maybe jolted out of my fears — or whatever effect your book has. At any rate, I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.

  16. I’d be published if it were simply of matter of writing. It is so much more now with needed a platform and a publisher. Just starting out and it is all a bit overwhelming, but if this is what I’m called to do, then it will work out when the time is right.

  17. I’d be published but… as much as I love strategy and starting a new project, it is so easy to get distracted by the shiny things in li…wait, what was the question?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s