Getting Your Work Out in The World: The Mindset

So, you're done with it.  You've gone through the rewriting and revising stages and your novel (or memoir or short story collection or romance or mystery or article) is finished.  Concluded, finalized, ended, done!

And now the real fun begins. Everystockphoto_197072_m

The marketing.

Otherwise known as getting your work out in the world.  Maybe you'll be seeking an agent, or sending it to editors at smaller houses, or submitting to magazines.  It doesn't matter what your plans are at this point (I'll be discussing the mechanics of getting your work out in the world on Friday).

What matters most is your mindset.

Before you research agents, ponder websites of publishing houses, peruse writer's market lists, before you do anything, you've got to get  your head on straight. 

Because if you've got any doubts about the project, are lacking in confidence about it, or believe in your heart of hearts that it still needs more work, you're going to face an uphill battle.  Our beliefs are what block us.  And they are also what set us free.  So take a look at the following handy Mindset Checklist.

Mindset Checklist

My book (or article) is the best it can be.  I've done everything I can on it until I get the professional advice of an agent who wants to represent me or an editor who wants to buy my project.

I bless the publishing world.  Instead of cursing the publishing world for its excesses, or lamenting the fact that its changing before our very eyes, I am ready to bless it for all its wonderful quirkiness instead.  Because this simple act alone is paradigm-changing.

I'm ready to put myself out there, too.  There's more to marketing than my book.  There's…me.  And I understand that I, the author, am a vital part of the equation these days.  I am ready to write a blog, sign up on Twitter, and create myself a page on Facebook.  I am ready to engage.

I don't take rejection personally.  I understand that a magazine editor might love my article, but have run a similar one last issue.  I get that an agent my love my novel, but not feel she can sell it.  I know that there could be a million and one reasons why I've been rejected, and not a one has to do with the quality of the work.

I am willing to do whatever it takes.  I'm going to hang in there for the long haul.  And when my hand-selected agent decides not to represent me, I'll send queries out to 20 more.  When I've exhausted every angle of the publishing world, I'll research print on demand options. 

I am open to all options.  Even though my vision of publishing a book includes a top-notch agent, a big New York publishing house, and a glamorous book tour, I'm willing to hold that intention while remaining open to other options.  Because, who am I to manipulate and control the world?

If you can say yes to all of these things, you're ready baby.  Go for it.  And come back here to report your success. 


Brain photo by jkt_de, fro Everystockphoto.



Good is Good Enough

I spent yesterday afternoon writing copy for my website.

Seeing as how this is a chore that's been hanging over my head for a year, it felt good to finish it.  And the way I finished it was to tell myself that good was good enough.

It didn't have to be perfect, I told myself.  It didn't have to be the most brilliant copy ever written.  It just had to be done.  And it had to be good enough.  And so it was.

Perhaps it sounds strange and counter intuitive for me to say that.

After all, we writers tend to be a perfectionist lot. And in order to get the attention of an editor or agent, our prose has to be perfect.

I agree.  I've argued this point many a time with civilians (aka, non-writers), who wonder why I obsess over making sure that my novel manuscript is as perfect as it can be.  "It doesn't matter," friends have argued.  "Because if they like the story, they won't mind a few typos here and there.  They'll clean it up for you."


What they will do, however, is take one look at the typos and pitch the manuscript over their shoulder, never to be looked at again.  Agents and editors are far too busy to waste their time on someone who submits a less than perfect manuscript.  This holds true for literary agents, book editors, and all those magazine editors who you're sending your articles and essays to.

So here I am, contradicting myself.

With good reason, because there's a difference between web copy which, at least for me, is going to change as my business changes, and a novel which is going to be published without changes for many years (if I should be so lucky).  There's a difference between a blog post, which is meant to reflect a certain dailiness of life, and a carefully crafted magazine article.

But it is more than that, too.  It is the way we hold ourselves back from the page because we're afraid its not going to be perfect.  The way we refuse to start that novel because it feels like such a long, long way to the finished form.  The way we never get around to starting the business because we're afraid to put ourselves out there.

The finished novel goes through many good enough drafts before the final one is reached.  Blog posts can be edited even after they are posted.  A website can be changed and added to and subtracted from. 

Many a creative project and idea has been stifled by perfectionism.  So don't let that happen.  Instead, allow things to be good enough.  And then take them to a new level of good enough.  And another, and another, until you have something that truly sparkles and shines.


When is good, good enough for you?