Prove you’re a Writer!

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Today, I received my copy of 2011 Guide to Literary Agents.  I was thrilled and immediately opened it.  Like any good reader, I started at the beginning where they told me, “Read these first series of articles because they have good information.”  Good?  Yes, it was and while I haven’t read all of them yet, the very first had a list of things to do for fiction writing.  Yay right?

More like Grrr.  Here, let me give you the start of the list and my progress in it:

1.  Finish your novel – Done..phew

2.  Revise your novel – Practically done and I had to (sob) cut out over 30,000 words out.

3.  Proofread – I’ve got someone who has a Masters in English who volunteered for this so I can put this under the check column.

4.  Publish short stories or novel excerpts in literary journals, PROVING to potential agents that editors see quality in your writing………….Grrrr

I barely have time to work on my book, since when do I have time to not only write a short story (which is difficult all by itself because I keep end up going way over that little line in the sand), but to find journals that will publish them too?  It is so irritating to see that or be told that because it’s like saying, “Finishing a book and putting all that hard work into it doesn’t mean anything unless you PROVE to us that you can write.”

Hello!  Read the book and find out.

Okay, I do understand that it’s hard to put faith behind someone who appears to be wet behind the ears in regard to the business aspect of writing.  But to be perfectly honest, I’ve been writing for the last 16 years and while I’ve never been published, does that make me any less worthy of consideration simply because my name doesn’t have a byline attributed to it?  It really burns me up!

Of course, the natural question is, if I haven’t been publishing or trying to publish for the last 16 years, what have I been doing?  It’s complicated but surprisingly I was first holding down a job with the military, then I got married, then I had a family and now I’m finally finished with my book only to find out, that those past 16 years might decrease my chances by 50% simply because I didn’t get to add 2 extra hours to my day!

Prove I’m a writer indeed!

The natural solution to this would be to actually start trying to find places to get published, little things.  The problem is again, time and not knowing exactly where to look.  I search and I find stuff for what I don’t write.  Oh, I know what some will say, go get the other Guides that the Writer’s Market published, but now I’m being asked to fork over more money to the very industry that says “Prove it.”

I think what infuriates me the most about all of this is that it seems like the very accomplishment of writing a book and getting to The End, is meaningless in the long run.  It’s now taken for granted, or at least it seems to be to me, the effort, time, and general irritation that comes with writing the book.  The endless sleepless nights just to squeeze in enough time to write, the constant interruptions and so forth.

It’s like the battle in the general work force, experience vs. education.  The difference here is that instead of education (not to say that having a degree is a bad thing for writing, especially if you’re using what you learned in college to help you with the tiny details) you have experience vs. skill.  If you have more experience you’ll get looked at first simply because you do have those bylines.  While those with skill have to wait in line, hoping and praying to whatever Diety is significant in their life, that their skill will shine through.   And when it doesn’t the question will always pop up, would I have been accepted if I had other things previously published???

Prove it, they say.  Well, I say…..actually, I can’t repeat what I would say to that, not if I want to keep this PG.


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