So you’re really creative and looking to break into the creative/publishing world. Except everyone else is creative too, and they’re also working hard to build interest for their novels.
No question competition in any creative field is fierce. To make it more so, established writers lose their contracts time and again and go back searching for representation. Unlike doctors or lawyers, we’re not what the world calls proven commodities. We depend on our creativity, hard work, networking, and a lot of … luck.
Yet, judging by articles penned by agents/editors, demand for extraordinary talent is higher than ever, and therein lies the paradox.
From agents’ perspectives (again, according to their blogs), there is a lot of mediocrity out there. It’s hard to find good writers, they say. Editors and agents send armies of interns into screening rooms, demanding they find the next Amazing Manuscript by the next Big Author. With thousands of queries sent out daily, that shouldn’t be hard to find, right? But it is.
Is lack of excellence the big problem? I can almost hear you say: if only it were that simple. But no, dear friends, the issue before us is more complicated.
For one, the agenting world depends on a lot of other things, such as: 1) connections at publishing houses, 2) the trending market, and 3) the business aspect of it all.
But the cited articles, you remind me, are about talent. So, then, absent name recognition is amazing talent the sole ingredient for success?
Maybe, and how does one define talent? Look at Fifty Shades of Grey — is it the product of exceptional talent? Whatever our take on FSG, the book is a huge success. Same with Twilight. What made those books attractive to agents and later colossal successes?
I wouldn’t know the answer to the first point, but here’s my guess as to the colossal-success point: word of mouth, or something, created immediate buzz, leading to sales. Maybe the agent anticipated it all, maybe not. Irrespective of plans and expectations, something triggered that first important spark.
How in the world does one create buzz? This goes for self-published authors as well, because the major complaint I hear there is about dismal sales. Aside from talent, what does one do to stand out? I don’t know.
Of course, we can be creative for our enjoyment and not worry about this — which is what I’m doing now, just writing and editing, although plans change all the time. And when they will change, I’m sure the same questions will cross my mind.
What do you think? About any of it. (Rushing to my son’s open house at school, then back to chat with you and read you).
Image courtesy: Breaking the Icewww.flickr.com