Girls Write Out
Saturday, June 24, 2006

I should be published by now!

Publishing a book is a journey fraught with bad advice, rejection and sparks of hope that keep one pushing forward. One of my pet peeves is people who self-publish for the wrong reasons, then show up at family/friend gatherings and force everyone into buying their book -- always introducing themselves as a published author. I have yet to meet one published author who ever introduced themselves that way and I've been in the business for a good ten years. That title is relegated to the self-published. My father has such a friend, and I told my dad to take one of my books from here on out, and do what the man does, "Here's the new one, you owe me $14."

That's pride people. I know, people don't want to hear it. Their work is just too brilliant for the publisher to get. It couldn't wait for the publishing channels, etc.

I'll tell you why I don't respect it. It's not that I think I'm so hot and only the "great" are relegated to publication. Far from it, there's a lot of crap out there, and I'm the first to admit it. Why did THIS get published is a question we've all asked ourselves as we threw a book across the room. And chances are, I've written at least one of those books.

BUT, I worked hard to get published. I learned craft. I learned to edit, and I learned to understand what was missing in my work to make it unpublishable. In short, I had to take my own ideas of brilliance and completely maim them. Now, there are people with platforms who SHOULD self publish and pocket the money -- maybe they speak, maybe they work at the top of an organization. This is rarely true of a novel, however. Even some of the biggest speakers have written some really awful novels because of pride.

The other thing I notice is that these authors rarely will publish with a smaller house to work their way up. Their work is beyond that, and they laugh at the thought of their masterpiece going for small potatoes. Again, that's pride. If you're called to write, you go where God leads you and trust His timing -- and trust me on this, I am NOT happy with God's timing about my living situation, so I know He often takes His time.

So...when you think that it's embarrassing to introduce yourself as a struggling writer who is working towards publication? Think of this post and the alternative of introducing yourself as a "published author". Kristin
Kristin Billerbeck  
posted at 5:02 PM  
  Comments (12)
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At 7:03 PM, Blogger Danielle said...

Wow. I'm so glad I found my way to your blog. I want to write and to be published. Is this a crazy dream?

Anyhow, I found your blog by clicking on some of my interests and you were the ONLY OTHER PERSON on Blogger who enjoys LOUD WORSHIP MUSIC.


I will be back to enjoy more of your blog. : )


At 7:29 PM, Blogger Kristin Billerbeck said...

Danielle, we're soul sisters!!! You just take your time, of course, it's a crazy dream, but it will come true with hard work. You can totally do it, now crank up the music and get typing. I notice you're also a Californian. WOOOHOOO we rock! Kristin

At 10:00 PM, Blogger Rachel Hauck said...

Good post, Kris. Rachel

At 11:16 PM, Blogger Jaime said...

I'm pathetic. I write my own books and then read them twenty times. I want to get published but I hate the more laborous part of putting together a proposal. And then there's so many publishers that require you to have an agent, but you can't get an agent if you haven't been published ... or so it feels to me. So, encourage a struggling writer to be hopeful ... it seems so brutal hard. (But I'm totally with you on the opinion of the self-publisher. Just ran into one in our neighborhood and the sad thing was her book was riddled with bad grammer and spelling. "she don't like tomatos.")

At 1:00 AM, Blogger Kristin Billerbeck said...

Jaime, the proposal is easy. Easy girlfriend. You've got the book, this is the easy part. This is writing a little advertising copy and sending it off, and you don't have to have an agent, you can go to conferences and get permission to send straight to the publishers. Just make sure if you do get an agent, talk to them on the phone first and make sure there's a connection. I had a big name agent that I tried to get, and praise God, she turned me down because I couldn't StAND her on the phone. I thought, this is someone I would totally go out of my way to avoid. LOL But I would have been too much of a weenie if she'd said yes. LOL

So now Jaime, your assigment is to start with a simple letter -- here's what my book is Mr. Editor. Here's the fabulous hook and here are my qualifications.

Your next step is to write out a description of all the characters (what makes them real?). Then, when you get the really fabulous storylines out of looking that over, you write a synopsis and you send off the first three chapters. YOU CAN DO IT!!!

At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Audra said...

I think the one I'm reviewing right now is self published. I'm struggling through it, but at least there's enough good for me to compliment it, too. It is so hard to give negative reviews.

As far as my own writing, I have quite a ways to go before I'm ready to be published. :) I'm working my way through Randy's Fiction 101 and learning a ton though. :)

All that to say I agree (I haven't woken up yet lol).

At 11:12 AM, Blogger Erlyne said...

Kristen - I love hearing your voice in your posts! You are a woman of your word (and God's word) and I respect that immensely. Your "think alouds" really help me and others to see what it's like to get where you are.

Write on,
Erlyne :o)

At 5:24 PM, Blogger Jaime said...

Kristin -
so cool. you have no idea how you encouraged me. And if I get rejected a thousand times then I'll take the hint i'm just a nasty-bad writer and keep reading my own book. *wink*
(I promise I won't show up on your front doorstep selling my self-published book in place of Girl Scout cookies)

The bit of advice on the writer's conference was something I was NOT aware of. That sounds much more do-able.

Anyway, thanks ... my husband wants me to pursue it because I'm always at my computer dreaming up non-existent people ... I'm just a weenie period! :) LOL

At 5:33 PM, Blogger Kristin Billerbeck said...

Jaime, weenies make excellent writers -- except when it comes to the criticism part. There was a stellar review in this week's People and the author was quoted as saying even a good review can damage an author. Ain't it the truth.

Erlyne, thank you so much for your kind words. But take it from me, and "edit" button would be really helpful on me. when this whole "banished to the country" thing is over, I'm going to have a lot to say. LOL

At 8:53 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

Amen and amen, Kristen. A whole lot of us are working hard, learning and polishing our work, making it the best it can be. If mine isn't good enough for a traditional publisher, then I don't want anyone to read it.

It's a long wait sometimes, but it's kind of like paying your dues.

At 12:29 AM, Blogger Kristin Billerbeck said...

Ane, I think you've paid your dues, I think your time is coming! We'll be your cheerleaders WHEN it happens.

At 5:54 PM, Blogger Tiff/Amber Miller said...

Thank you, Kris, for saying so well what echoes my thoughts on self-published novels. I'm all for the speaker and minister who self-pub because of their platform...but a novel? That's a story that requires craft and skill in order for it to be told in a way to engages the reader. You don't want to shove it down someone's throat and make them feel "obligated" to buy it. Your book should stand on its own merit, and not because you're pushing it at people to buy.

I'm published but don't have my name on the cover of a book yet. Getting ever closer with each passing week. When the time comes, I won't regret the journey then anymore than I do now.


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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