Friday, October 31, 2008

The Hardest Part of Writing

When I took my first writing class at Columbia College in Chicago, our professor told us on our first day of class that the most important part of writing is re-writing. As this elicited a groan from the class, he proceeded to tell us the story of Dostoyevsky. When he wrote Crime and Punishment, he started writing it in the first person. About five hundred pages into the book, his main character/narrator became mentally ill and was no longer able to process or describe what was going on around him. So, Dostoyevsky re-wrote the book in third person. This, of course, was before typewriters, let alone word processors or computers. Besides—he pointed out that re-writes counted toward the sixty-pages of original fiction that we had to produce just to pass the class. I averaged about a hundred pages per semester. I couldn’t tell you how many of those pages were rewrites, but now I couldn’t imagine turning a first draft over to anyone—even a critique partner. That is NOT the hardest part of writing.

So I have to learn to write a letter. And a synopsis in order to get the thing published. I’m a writer. I can do that. I can even take the rejection slips (or e-mails as the case may be). OK, so I got scammed by a fake agent. It’s just growing pains. It was disappointing, but I knew that money always flows toward the author and as soon as the “agency” asked for money, I withdrew my book. And I learned about Predators and Editors. Finally, I gave up on getting into print. There’s a flourishing e-pub business out there and the Romance Writers of America has (grudgingly) accepted that they’re real publishers. And as of last weekend, even Oprah admitted to enjoying a good e-book on her Kindle Reader from Amazon. So, I have a publisher. An e-publisher, to be sure, but it counts.

Then there’s the editing process. You mean to tell me that someone is going to mark up my baby with a blue pencil, or red lines and bubble-comments? Goddess forbid that blankety-blank editor should change a word of my masterpiece. I have a Voice! I had a great editor who respected my voice and helped me tighten up my manuscript. I'm all for tight manuscripts. No—that’s not the hardest part, either.

Now I have to promote the book. Market it. Sell it. If I could sell, I’d have made my first million twenty years ago with Shaklee. However, my sales skills went as far as selling a lipstick to a friend—and lending her the money for it. Then there was the water purifier thing. I tried pounding the pavement on a scorching day and bought a hat. Total sales: minus $15.00.

So—here I am. I’ve written my blurbs, joined just about every chat group I can find, dropped blurbs and excerpts everywhere. I don’t leave home without bookmarks, which I give away like candy. And I worked eighteen hours on a You Tube trailer—only to have it pulled five minutes after I uploaded it when some ******* flagged it as spam, even though the User Agreement specifically says that “promotions of artistic endeavors” do NOT constitute spam. I am now at war with You Tube, which is distracting me from promoting my book. I can’t get a hold of a real person to save my soul. Oh, I also made a banner. And maybe before this book goes off the virtual shelf, I’ll figure out how to upload it onto my blogs.

So—Rock Bound comes out in less than a week and this was supposed to be a happy blog. I did manage to get my trailer up onto my own website so you can see it at And there are other places I can post it, as well. And if I ever get a real person, I will get it back up on You Tube!

Meanwhile, I will be chatting Monday on, and on Wednesday on Savannah Chase’s Yahoo Group, and Thursday at the Red Rose Forum. I also have an interview coming up on Billie Williams’ blog and will post that info when I have it.

So, that’s the hardest part of writing--Marketing and Promotion. Please make it all worthwhile—buy Rock Bound!


  1. Good Luck with your book! I would never have been able to share Shaklee had it not been for a really patient mentor. They say I have a book inside of me and I keep meeting writers. Synchronicity. You inspire.

  2. When we started in Shaklee, we did have a great mentor and my husband did the selling while I did the bookwork and such. But he was working an outage at a nuclear power plant at the time and we moved to a town 700 miles from our mentors where we did not know anyone. He turned the entire business over to me and that was the end of it. A few months later, our marriage also crumpled.

    So--write! What have you got to lose? When you finish your book, send it to me. I'm also an acquisitions editor at Red Rose. ;-)