The why of want

I want to be published. I really want to be published. I talk about it. I dream about it. I fantasize about it. I hope, pray, and wish on stars for it. Below is what I wrote in the small notebook I carry in my purse:

“It is 2:49 pm on Wednesday, 21 April, 2010 and as I sit in a McDonald’s Playland full of squealing children I feel certain I will be a published author.”

Yes, I want to be published. I don’t care about fame, in fact I’d just as soon not have that. Money would be nice, but that’s not my motivation. I want validation. I want to know that all the time I spend writing has a better purpose than avoidance of housework. I want my words to mean something to someone besides me.

I have no illusions of grandeur. I’m fully aware that nothing I write is important. It has no power to change the world. It will never be studied in a classroom. Yet it could transport readers into a time, place, or circumstance other than their own for a while, and there is worth in that. To see through another’s eyes, feel through another’s heart, think through another’s mind has purpose. I want someone to experience this through my words. I want to share the stories given to me.

I want to be published.

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40 thoughts on “The why of want

  1. “Publishing” and “sharing” are two different things. Which is it that you want? You don’t want fame. You’re iffy about the money. You just want validation. You want to share the stories given to you. This is a recipe for self-publishing if I ever saw one.

    I think you might like to read Michelle Davison Argyle’s articles on Self-pubbing: http://literarylab.blogspot.com/2010/08/do-you-want-to-jump-fence-part-1-of-why.html See if what she says, and what she has done, resonate with you and your writing goals.

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    1. Good point, Merrilee. I follow Michelle and have talked to her privately about her venture. It’s true I want to share, but I’d like to share with more than ten people, hence my goal of traditional publication. I don’t have nearly the platform Michelle has. I don’t know what her current sales totals are, but I would guess that mine would be, at most, one tenth of hers. So, though it may come to self-publishing, I’d like to give traditional a real shot first.

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  2. Like Merrilee, its seems some self-publishing option would fill your needs. [Mine too: I just want to entertain that likes the kind of stories I want to tell.]
    I would not recommend hard-copy self-publishing to anyone who was not already wealthy.
    But there should be a way to get vetted, approved, or at least first-reader recommended works out to a wide audience. A share-ware form of self-publishing: anyone can read it free. If they really like it, they can kick back some money to the author.
    If there is not already, I think, in this day of iPads and Kindles, there soon will be.

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    1. I am not opposed to self-publishing, Paul, and I know its popularity is growing, but like I said to Merrilee, I’d like my work to be read by more than ten people. At this point, I truly don’t see that happening for me with self-pub. But I have other reasons.

      For one, I’ve been reading a lot about the technical experience of self-pub. It sounds like a LOT of work. I’m confident I could learn how to format my ms for each e-reader, design my cover, etc. but to be honest, I’d rather spend my time writing.

      No matter which option I decide to go for, as of today, my novel isn’t ready anyway. So …

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      1. But that’s what I am advocating, Linda:
        Not self-publishing, where you pay a lot and work hard to reach a few people…
        Not traditional publishing, where you have million-to-one odds of being one of the few past the gate keepers — to reach a few thousand people.
        Instead: a new electronic form of publishing that potentially reaches millions, with little to no effort on the part of the writer for marketing or formatting.
        I don’t think it farfetched at all. I bet we will have it five years.

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        1. And yesterday’s update to Apple’s $99 Pages — very simple word processing and page design software — added an instant export to the standard ebook format…

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          1. I wasn’t aware there is a “standard” ebook format. From what I’ve read, though some readers use the same format (pdf?) the format for Kindle is different from Nook, which is different from … That said, I’m sure programs to simplify converting to each of the popular formats either already exist or will soon.

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        2. Sorry I misunderstood, Paul. I’m still not ready to give up paper books, but this scenario sounds great. However, it sounds to me that you are describing the next generation of “traditional” publishing. I have a hard time conceiving how you could “potentially reach[s] millions” without some big marketing money behind it and that, in my opinion, denotes gate keeping.

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  3. I have been thinking about this quandry. There must be an answer on how to get past the blocks that the establishment has in place to prevent talented witers to get their works out.

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  4. You said it well regarding the value of fiction and what drives us: “… transport[ing] readers into a time, place, or circumstance other than their own for a while …”

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