Thursday, January 01, 2015

state of mind for 2015

So here it is. We've made it over to the other side. 2015. How should it be any different from 2014? 2014 was a mess of a year, rife with natural and man-made disasters, and social turbulence, tragic accidents ... Ugh, good riddance to 2014.

This time, I don't want to pin too much hope on 2015. Because that's what I did last year. Built up all that expectation and anticipation - I want to write two novels this year, enter this competition and that, write a short story and a blog post every week, post it up on forums, make more writer friends, take up a new hobby! THIS is the year I land a literary agent and get published and start leading a more fulfilling life! - only to meet roadblock after roadblock for No Room in Neverland, and receive rejection letter after rejection letter.

I'm not saying I'm going to be completely pessimistic and dour this year, in case you're thinking I'm starting this year as a grumpy puss. No, I'm just tempering my expectations, taking whatever comes along for what they are. I'm not going to get ahead of myself, just do what needs to be done - rewrite that novel for the fourth time? Bring it. Edit and polish old manuscripts and look for new platforms to gather feedback. Read more books, read outside of what I typically read, watch more movies and drama series, find more new music, to collect fresh, new ideas. Just the gritty work that are a lot less pretty than those daydreams of being published. As happy as I am for authors who achieve mega success because heck yeah they deserve it, I'm done with sighing wistfully over their writing and wishing I could have what they have.

These novels, all this effort into editing and rewriting and pitching to agents, may amount to nothing. And it's easy to get caught up in the whole quest of getting published. But really, what I really need is to write a book that doesn't suck, that people would want to read.

As Chuck Wendig said,
Writing a book and putting it out in the world is an act of ego -- not egomania, but the willingness and decision to create a story out of nothing and push it forward into the world is a bold, brash, unflinching act. You say: this story matters, and it matters that I wrote it. It is a demonstration of your belief in the story and the belief you possess in yourself as a writer, storyteller, and a creator. It takes a rather epic set of genitals to write something that's 300 pages long and then say to someone: "You're going to sit down and you're going to read this and you are going to love it the way I love it. You are going to take hours, even days out of your life to read the little ants dancing across the page, ants that make words, words that make this one big story full of people.

That said, I've been considering other options outside of traditional publishing. Chuck Wendig, as well as many authors and publishing experts have been touting hybrid publishing and embracing crowd sourced novels for a while. Forbes also laid out the pros and cons of hybrid publishing. Some even go so far as to call hybrid publishing the future of publishing. I'm still reading up as much as I can about it so I can decide whether to take this route. If anyone has any thoughts on this matter, I'd love to hear them!

Happy New Year, everyone! Here's hoping for a less turbulent, more forgiving 2015.


Whiskoffee Purr said...
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Whiskoffee Purr said...

Can I encourage you to write short stories instead? Then sell them via emarketing platforms. You can also create your own site and secure income through a pay-per-download scheme.

Instead of pushing for traditional publishing channels which is more costly and risky for all parties involved (especially the publisher), taking matters in your own hands may be well worth it. It will be exciting to see your mini-works published electronically, and for your popularity to soar. Then the publishers will seek your support, instead of you running after them.

What do you think? ;)

Joyce Chua said...

@ Whiskoffee Purr: Thanks for your suggestions!

I've been thinking of publishing my short stories on sites like Wattpad and Authonomy. It's hard to sell short stories unless you have amassed some solid credentials. For now, I will keep to posting my work on public platforms and sending them for contests here and there.

Also, yes. I think there is a greater acceptance of non-traditional publishing routes now as digital content is more common these days. Hybrid publishers allow authors more freedom and there is less sunk cost incurred for them. The thing about self-publishing and hybrid publishing, I think, is that the author has to have a huge following in order to sell books, because it doesn't have the backing of a large publishing house such as the Big 6 (or is it 5 now). Publishers print on demand for such crowd-sourced books - I may be wrong about this, but that's how I see it.

But I'm definitely considering hybrid publishing as another option now. I just need to gather all the facts before making a decision :)

Whiskoffee Purr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Whiskoffee Purr said...

All the best! :)