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 . . .
Watching 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.
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.
If 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.
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.