I get emails sometimes from authors asking how to get published. What's the best course? Is self-publishing the answer?
I want to say to them that there is no outside answer. In many ways it can be about who you know, some luck, a lot of hard work, but I've found for me it has been one thing over and over.
Patience with yourself. All that writing you've done. Do some more and have patience that you'll only get better with each word, page, book. Is it taking years? That's completely normal.
Patience with the industry. Traditional publishing is not broken. It may have kinks that need ironing out, but that will happen. Things change, but publishing will always be around in some form or another. Self-publishing is obviously an answer for some authors, and although I think it's a fabulous route to go, I honestly don't think it's for everyone.
Patience with others. Your beta readers when they take so long to read your book. Agents when they never get back to you. Family and friends when they don't understand what you're trying to do.
As I was writing books a few years ago I honestly looked at my work and knew it wasn't ready. For five years after college I didn't write a word. When I started again I was in bad shape and I knew it. So I forced myself to be patient even though lots of friends around me were getting agents and publishing contracts. And trust me, I KNOW how hard that is to see when you aren't getting anywhere. But, I want to point out that things have progressed faster than I thought they would and that's the point I want to make today.
You never, ever know when things are going to pick up.
But they'll only pick up if you keep working hard.
For me? I'm very happy today. I feel validated and respected and all those wonderful things that come with publication, but at the same time I'm still just me and I still have huge goals and things I'm working toward. I still need a lot of patience and have a long way to go. I hope that never changes. So tell me, what's your best advice to those seeking their dreams?