I subscribe to the RSS feed for Joe Konrath’s blog, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing. He may have been a bit of newbie when he started the blog, but he’s now a terrifically experienced writer and incredibly generous with sharing his experiences with other newbies. His 40th birthday was yesterday… so he blogged about his life, so far, with a special emphasis on writing. It’s a great story of how persistence pays off and a good lesson for me. Particularly noteworthy is that Joe landed an agent in 1993 (age 23) – but didn’t sell his first book until 2003 (age 33)!
Since then, Joe’s been a virtual promotion machine… and it’s paid off big. He’s happy to take the publisher’s publicity, but doesn’t rely on it. Thanks to a well-known name and reliably entertaining fiction, he’s even been able to move very profitably to self-publishing online via Amazon and the Kindle e-reader. Start here and read backwards for some excellent advice if you’re frustrated by not having an agent, a publisher, a book in print, a short story in an anthology – any writing milestone you may be hankering after – and are thinking to moving to e-publishing as a way of getting an ego boost. As Joe points out, it’s not a short cut to success.
Sometimes it’s hard to keep writing when the plotting is tricky, you feel like you’ve written this story (better) before, and even the rejection letters have slowed down to an occasional, small, thin envelope. Joe’s story is a good one for building zeal!