Monday, February 13, 2012

False Peaks

Mountain climbing can be tricky business. I'm not an expert hiker but I do enjoy an occasional climbing adventure. A few years ago, I embarked on an impromptu excursion that has been added to my ever-growing collection of "learning experiences". After an arduous and painful entanglement in scrub brush and a strenuous climb to what I thought was the top of the mountain behind my uncle's home, I discovered the frustration of false peaks--sub-peaks that appear to the inexperienced climber to be the object of their climb when, upon closer examination, are only a mirage.


Creating a publishable manuscript can be like that. Finding an agent for your manuscript can be like that. Many times, like inexperienced hikers, a new author reaches a point at which they believe they're about to reach the end of their climb. An agent requests a partial or a full manuscript, an agent offers representation, an editor is reading their manuscript. Often, these steps result in a book contract, but sometimes they are only a false peak.

The key to success is not turning around and going back down the mountain. Don't do it! The top of the mountain still exists, despite the false peak. You just have to keep going to reach it. Study the market, go to conferences, participate in workshops, distance yourself from the manuscript and write something else. Sometimes, the false peaks are there so we can prove to ourselves that we can reach the markers along the way, climb over them, and see the actual top of the mountain in our reach.

So, to all you writers out there (and all you non-writers who have other goals in your sights), adjust your approach and find a better trail if necessary, but never stop climbing!

9 comments:

  1. Hi Celesta, I've just popped over from the campaign (we're in the same YA group!).

    This is a really great and encouraging post. I haven't gotten to the stage where I'm querying, or even editing a full manuscript but, I definitely felt like there was a point where I'd be climbing back down after finishing my firs novel and just thinking there was no way it'd ever happen. It can be hard finding a better trail :) but definitely worth finding!

    I look forward to more of your posts!

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  2. Stopping by from the campaign to say hello! New follower here =)

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  3. Stopping by from the YA group to say hello and follow!

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  4. I, too, love cheese and cookies. Hello from the campaign trail!

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  5. Hi Celesta, stopping by from the campaign to say hi!

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  6. Great advice, Celeste. I might add as well, that beta readers and good critique partners are essential to creating a manuscript that will be publish-worthy. I can't tell you how many e-books and self-published books I've read that if the author would have just taken the advice of a few critiques and allowed some beta readers to give valuable feedback would have been much more successful. I won't download "cheap" e-books unless they come highly recommended.
    I'm a new follower from Rachael Harrie's campaign.

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  7. Hi, I'm stopping by on the campaign trail. I love this analogy. Thanks for the encouraging post!

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  8. Hi! I'm Susan from My WIthershins stopping by to meet a fellow YA writer. (Don't let the Humpty Dumpty name fool you. For some reason Blogspot doesn't seem to like the Wordpress folk, making it hard for us to comment, so I'm using an old ID)

    You gave some good advice above and Betsy's addition is sound, too. Great analogy! :)

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  9. Hi Celesta. Stopping by from the campaign trail. Yours is the second blog post I've read today about never giving up. Such great advice. :)

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