I know you wouldn’t expect any less than the dirty, nasty and sometimes heart shattering truth on this blog. That’s really the whole point, isn’t it? Today, I want to share with you some other experiences I had while attending my first writing conference and let you know that it wasn’t all singing birds and skipping through meadows. There were comments and information that made me want to crawl inside my messenger bag and cry myself to sleep. I’m still working on growing a thick skin in order to pursue my dream of being a writer, I was reminded many times how imperative that would be.
During one particular workshop, while attempting to share my genre (which I wasn’t clear on) and a little bit about my writing (which is hard to explain without reading my work), I had a woman (who had spent many years working for big publishing companies) say this to me.
“The type of book you are writing is written by well known people who already have a platform.”
The end. Perhaps a warning that I shouldn’t write it. Perhaps a kind reminder that it won’t be easy. Perhaps just a mean spirited bitch attempting to make a mockery of me in front of 20 strangers. We will never know. I didn’t ask.
I also became privy to these butthole puckering facts in regards to large publishing companies:
- 5% of authors make 95% of the money. So yeah, striking it rich as a published author…not so much.
- Some publishers look for authors who already have 25,000 followers on Twitter before they will read a manuscript. Shoot me now, with my 700 Twitter followers in tow.
I used the margins of my notebook to manically scrawl the following notes in order to keep myself from throwing a style toddler tantrum.
I have no outline.
I have no title.
I don’t know my niche.
People use fancy words and I don’t have a dictionary.
As I’m trying to explain my book, I stutter and say ‘like’ too many times.
That’s the reality. There were moments when I didn’t feel that I was good enough to be there. I was an insecure little girl among grown up ladies in high heels who have real jobs and a pitch for their book. I was “just” a mom with a blog. I was a newbie with a pile of papers in a pink folder being allowed to eat dinner with folks who had manuscripts and agents. Regardless, I left California with more drive to write than I had in a long time. While some of these experiences could have sent me running to Starbucks and begging for my job back, it didn’t. I felt that skin thickening and I felt like a writer.