Follow Your Dream

The Yellow Brick RoadAs an incorrigible doer of the antithesis, and having a streak of rebelliousness that has always led me towards the opposite of anything, I tend to get on people’s nerves from time to time. Especially those who are inclined to take the more traditional route to towards their goals in life. Hopefully though, when I do express my opinions, I don’t offend.

One terrific literary blogger has been on the receiving end of some of my pointed comments, and I can only admire her tact when responding to my tirades. Sirragirl (@sirra_girl) recently posted a well written and very informative post about how to query Literary Agents. Of course with my inclination to go anyway except the trodden path, I had my say and ten cents worth.

However on reflection, I was wrong in adding my acerbic comments to her post. To take a small quote from her reply to my comments: ‘Some of us still want to pursue this road because the result is rewarding to us. And that’s our personal choice, our dream.’

This hit a nerve with me.

We all have our dreams of how we would like to succeed and there is no standard, correct or incorrect formula. For some, the advent of self publishing and the independence it allows has been a dream come true. While for others the dream is still the traditional route, with the recognition and esteem that comes from being recognised by professionals in the publishing industry. Then again, there are those who have a foot in both camps and self publish some material while holding back other works for submission to Literary Agents.

Whichever path, they all lead to each individual’s dream. Not that any of the paths are a guarantee of success. At the end of the day, it’s about how good a writer you are and if you are lucky enough and talented enough to rise above an ever increasingly crowded market.

11 thoughts on “Follow Your Dream”

  1. Having gone down the ‘find an agent’ route without success and now down the road of ‘small press’ on a contract per book scenario, where I finally had a novel published, I’m now looking at going it alone.

    Meanwhile I continue writing my stories, blogging and submitting articles and short stories to “Angie’s DIARY”. Hopefully I’m improving my product.


  2. Dear Mr. Haines,

    I was thoroughly surprised and touched by this post. As we have expressed in many of our private conversations, we have mutual understanding and respect. We do, at times, lose our cool and say things too quickly, but our true intentions do not get lost.

    I’ve been rather disappointed by the trend of indie publishing and indie authors solely due to the lack of standard control and books of poor quality. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t respect the entire indie publishing. I can only hope that when writers choose that path, they become the best self-editors or look to professional editors to produce the best version of their work.

    After all, when readers are happy (regardless of how it was published), we all win. All writers need to focus on producing quality, salable product to help grow the literary industry as a whole. In the end, that’s what we’re pursuing: to write books that are worthy of being published, to write books that reach the hearts of many readers, and to write the books that make us said with pride “I am an author.”

    Thank you so much for this post. You’ve made my day. ^.^

    Su (@sirra_girl)

    1. Thank you for your thoughts Su. There is so much turmoil right now in all aspects of book publishing that it is impossible for anyone to know what lies ahead. From the ‘Big Six’ down to someone with their family story in the bottom drawer and wanting to tell their story, the way ahead has yet to be clearly defined.

      No matter which route a writer takes, there will be challenges ahead. This is where we are in complete agreement. The only chances of success lie in great writing and attention to detail and presenting a quality product to the market.

      From then on it’s luck, as it always has been.

  3. I have done both. Both are rewarding, only with a small publisher who is willing to follow my needs and give me higher royalties, I own it does feel more rewarding. I felt wrong selling out to a major publisher by dumbing down my language and changing my heroines to make them weaker in hopes of appealing to a wide audience. I know my market now, and I think that’s what helps me succeed with a small publisher. Either way, I’m writing for ten hours a day. I have no complaints :)

  4. Just wanted to say thanks to both Derek and Su for realizing there’s no one true path for every writer.

    Frankly, I stopped reading a lot of blogs lately because of the name-calling and disrepect shown from both sides of the equation. It’s sad, it’s unnecessary, and it reminds me of what my grandmother used to say about wrestling with pigs..

  5. Derek, your remarks were spot-on. With respect to Su, of course, agents and publishers will only give time to well-written query letters and submissions, that’s a no-brainer. It’s also a no-brainer that they will pick up that which will earn them a living, be it celebrity, zeitgeist or whatever the en-vogue genre might be. Unless they are running a charitable institution :-)

  6. I think I have been a net contributor to the conventional book trade – in the sense that it has made far more money out of me than I ever made with its assistance. I am still open to offers from mythical agents & publishing houses but – like the majority of modern authors – my choices are

    1) commit my books to an online publisher and do all the promotion myself,

    or 2) self-publish and do all the promotion myself.

    Either way, I sell about the same number of books, but course 2) earns me 3 or 4 times as much per copy

  7. This post caught me attention, both for its subject matter and for the spirit of humility expressed. It takes a lot of courage for anyone to admit they could have done things differently, and to do it in such a public forum is admirable. I am one of those folks straddling both sides of the publishing fence right now, just looking to find my audience be it as an indie author online or in traditional print. The industry is in flux right now, and since none of us know how it will all turn out, it seems the best option is to continue to do the kinds of things I see happening here–sharing information and encouragement.

  8. I agree… I think it’s not really worth arguing about. Everyone has their own dreams. My favorite line was how people need to be, “talented enough to rise above an ever increasingly crowded market.” I think that is everyone’s dream.


    1. Mmmh – but…. sorry. Talent is not enough. You only have to check out your local airport book store to reach that conclusion. A basic level of competence – yes. And next you need something to catch the publisher’s eye. Try being a sports star perhaps, or a politician, better still, a politician’s mistress. Probably the simplest route to a publisher’s heart is reincarnation as his favourite niece…

      Don’t want to try reincarnation? Well, if you are not prepared to be properly dedicated to your craft, I shall go off in a huff.

  9. Derek, I think your original comments in Su’s blog were perfectly reasonable, in a slightly grumpy sort of way. And as AE says, the subject is not worth arguing about.

    Jacqueline: What a good idea. I think I may try that (reincarnation) soon. Lol.


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