Connections? Or hard work?

First, you need to go read this post by Rick Riordan. I’ll wait while you do.

La di dah di dum dum doooo.

Okay?

His post resonated with me. It took him 17 years to get published and it all depended on his craft. I especially liked the part about those who doubt themselves and are always trying to improve are most likely to.

And talk about timing! I happen to be reading one of his books right now. A-Read insisted I read The Lost Hero, first in the Heroes of Olympus series. I very much enjoyed the Percy Jackson books, so I figured, why not? And I must say, I’m having trouble putting this book down. From the first page, he had me hooked.

Riordan claims not to have any magic, but he does. And maybe someday I will, too. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing: reading and writing. Maybe someday I’ll write something publishable. And readable.

And I don’t know. I guess it’s human nature that misery loves company. It makes me feel a little better that Rick Riordan says writing is hard and that he has banged his head against the walls of publishing. It’s nice to know that someone so successful didn’t get there overnight. He really worked at it.

Thank goodness I like my job and am not looking for writing to replace my income stream. I just want to write. If it makes me some money, then great, but I just want to share my stories with people who want to read them.

It’s nice to know that it really isn’t about who you know. It’s about working. Working at my writing. That I can do.

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9 Comments

Filed under Getting Published, Reading, writing

9 responses to “Connections? Or hard work?

  1. I love Riordan–The Percy Jackson books are the first that my son (then 10) recommended to ME, instead of the other way around. That said, I think if you DO have a connection, it is easier to get something seriously considered. In fact I had a referral that led to my first publication. Now it was my 7th book, so I think I’d developed the chops to write, but I never would have had the opportunity if I hadn’t had the referral. That said, I GOT that referral through just blogging and networking–one of my writer friends thought my voice was perfect for cozy mystery and suggested I give it a try. And it worked. To date I’ve now written 17 books and the three in that series are STILL the only traditionally published. I haven’t gotten anywhere in the genres in which I DON’T have a connection. I DID have a YA agent for a while… the partner of the agent representing the cozies… So yeah… in the traditional world I think connections help. But I think you can forge a path to HAVE those connections on your own.

  2. That’s a great article by Riordan! And in my experience, true. When I first started looking for an agent, I was referred by various writers I knew — and those referrals got me “a look” but no offers. The agent I signed with was someone I’d had no contact with before I queried her.

    Furthermore, the novel that caused her to offer representation? It didn’t sell. She sold my next book.

    There are a lot of different factors that go into selling a book. Luck, unfortunately, is one of them and one you can’t control: offering the right book to the right person at the right time.

    Pretty much the only part of that you can control is writing “the right book.”

  3. Wonderful post. Have fun writing. I know I do. hee hee

  4. I’ve read R.R’s post several times now. And I’m still not tired of it. That says a lot. I hope to be there when you get your breakthrough so I can shout it to the whole world. 😀

  5. Margo Berendsen

    Oh, that was so wonderful to read. “You have to forget you want to be published in order to get published. At least, that’s how it worked for me. I went into teaching. I kept writing just for fun. Then, one day, the story I needed to write came to me…. suddenly, all these disparate things came together – my pleasure reading, my writing, my knowledge base, my yearning for home.”

    And what you said resonated with me too. “I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing: reading and writing. Maybe someday I’ll write something publishable. And readable.” That’s exactly my philosophy. You can’t put a time frame around something like this; you just have to keep writing, keep reading, keep trying, until it clicks.

  6. Favorite part of what he said: “–I see now that the only variable I could control – and the only one that mattered – was my own craft.”

    There’s truth in those words, even in today’s publishing world (which is vastly different than the one Riordan lived in during the starts of his Percy Jackson fame). I’ve found even if you self publish, it’s that quality control of “it’s up to me to determine when this sucker is good enough” that we really have much sway over. Once that baby is in the world, it’s in the world. You best move on to the next and try to keep getting better.

    The one factor that I think needs to be said is this: You don’t need permission to be a writer or call yourself an author. I feel very strongly about that, because I don’t think anyone gives out badges to the painters and musicians of the world, either. You either are or you aren’t. When you have something you feel is ready to be shared, be it by sending it to agents or putting it on Amazon, share it. Just understand the process and know what you want for your work.

    In the current publishing climate, I think the wise writer judges her publishing options on a work-by-work basis. As Riordan said about editors, just know your audience and who you are writing to. Then decide if you can connect with them on your own, or if you need help.

  7. I admire Rick Riordan, not only because he’s an excellent writer, but because he shares his pragmatic wisdom on how to get published. He practiced the craft, writing and writing, for many years. Just like you and me. Thanks for this great post, Vicki.

  8. I just bought the Heroes of Olympus books in hardback for by classroom library. Now it’s time to replace my well-loved, dog eared, Percy Jackson books as well. Loved the RR article. Thanks. Happy 2014.

  9. Hey Vicki – Tried to respond via email – but it gave me the blogger no reply address.

    As an extension to human body for my gifted kiddos we do a mini unit on “Body Malfunction.” They look at the function of systems/organs/cells and research the cause and effect when something doesn’t work the way it should, i.e. diabetes, cancer, brittle bones. The kids are fascinated and it helps cement their knowledge of the way the body is supposed to work. One year we even dove into forensics a bit.

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