Thursday, June 19, 2008

Selling a book is like setting out across a storm-tossed sea

Claire Delacroix has written one of the best analogies for a career in writing I've ever seen over on her blog, Alive and Knitting. She likens selling your first book to setting out to sea in a dingy. I also like how she contrasts that with the prevalent notion of a writing career she calls the Escalator Theory.

I'm going to play a little with her comparison and liken being unpublished to standing on the shore. You see the sea, and you think, "Yes, I'd like to go for a sail. I can build a boat."

So you start building a boat. First, you have to decide what kind of craft -- kayak? Whaler? Man o' war? Then you need some plans (like an outline, or synopsis). And then you start to build. Some days, everything fits together beautifully, other days, nothing works.

Sometimes people get so hung up on the color of the sails, they don't see the leak in the hull. Sometimes, people start planning a fleet before they've even finished one vessel.

But let's say you build your boat and whoo hoo! You get to launch it. As Claire makes so very clear, you're only at the beginning at the voyage, and there's a lot that can happen.

No wonder there are days I feel like somebody should start calling me Lovey....


Caffey said...

Happy Thursday Margaret! I shall check Claire's blog out! When reading that about making the boat, reminds me of my kids when they were younger and I had to explain there's alot more involved in having puppy than just playing with them!! I didn't read Claire's blog yet so I might have the idea all wrong but thats the first thing I thought of when you explained the boat!

Mel said...

We so appreciate you willingness to build the boat and set out in it across the sea though.

Margaret Moore said...

Thanks, Mel! And yes, Caffey, building a boat, writing a book and getting a puppy seem easier until you actually do it!

We have cats, in no small part because they're born litter trained.

Although why Luis thinks he has to act like a vulture and jump up on the headboard at 1 a.m., I do not know....

Louisa Cornell said...

I like the analogy, Margaret! There are plenty of days I feel "all at sea" when it comes to my WIP!

Add my name to the list of people who are so happy you decided to launch your boats into the ocean!

And caffey it is definitely like having a puppy! I have dogs and they are HIGH MAINTENANCE no matter what breed they are.

I also have cats and while they are not high maintenance they are definitely high quirkiness!

When I added a 7 year old black Manx who weighs in at 24 lbs to the mix, my other three cats decided he could have the entire foot of the bed. They would just all crowd onto Mom's pillow/head and sleep there!