Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Magic Formula

These days everyone wants the easy way. We want a pill to take off the pounds in just a few weeks when it took months or years to put the weight on. And there's plenty of people willing to sell it to them. Sure, it would be nice, but it ain't gonna happen.

Some writers are no different. Lately, I've been seeing stuff on the internet for writers offering to make the process easy. Could it be these people just want to make money off a writer's hopes? Sure. I guess there's always a Jack trying to find the magic beans.

There's software that writes query letters for you. Just plug in a bit of info and presto! you have a query letter. Of course, some agents have been complaining to Miss Snark that a lot of query letters sound alike. So, I wouldn't suggest this. There's a person who will sale you the magic formula for a romance novel. Personally, I don't think buying her formula for $200 is the answer either.

The last two weeks there's been press on a plagiarism case, which I guess is the easiest way of all. There have been reports of three books with striking similarities to hers. Yes, she has lost her two book deal. Originally, Little, Brown was pulling the book for revisions. Now, they will not rerelease it. I'm sure she is highly embarrassed, but it's not enough. She should have to give the money back and go to court.

There is no magic formula. There are no magic beans. There is no easy way. Or an honest one anyway. Writing and becoming published is hard work. If it were easy, everyone would be published. Publishing is a business. The publishing professionals aren't into giving people the warm fuzzies. Only the strong survive this business. This is not a writer just being pessimistic. It's the brutal truth.

I'm willing to give you the getting published formula for free. No gimmick, no money due. It's simple -- WORK HARD AND WRITE A GOOD BOOK! No, all good books don't get published, but if you're out there networking and sending your manuscript to agents and editors, it will eventually find a home. If the first or second or third manuscript doesn't sell, keep writing and submitting. Luck will find you if you practice perseverance. And I'm no Pollyanna.

Just my two cents. I know some people will disagree with me. That's your prerogative. That's what's great about living in a free country.

What do you think will help a writer get published?


Betty said...

I believe that networking through conferences, writers groups, and like Paula said earlier on the blog by creating an awareness of your writing will help. But of course the main thing every writer who wants to be published has to do is write a captivating story, one that grabs the reader and won't let go. Having just finished my WIP -- at least the storyline -- I can tell you this isn't as easy as it might sound. There isn't one thing that a writer must do to be published, but many. This is a business, like you said.

Karen Beeching said...

Well said, Debbie. Every book I've ever read on "writing" repeats the same phrase. KEEP WRITING. And it's true. I wrote three books before I even found my voice.

My own advice ... read. Find voices and stories that grab you and read them again. Figure out what the author did that kept you hooked throughout the book.

More advice? Listen. You'll know dumb advice when you hear it. Blow it off and never look back. But when you hear good advice, do the work. Revise. Yes, go through that manuscript yet again, even though you fear reading that story one more time might turn you off to writing forever. Revise. Revise. Revise.

And the best advice I've ever heard? Send out that finished manuscript, put it out of your mind, and start a new story.

Keep writing!

Martha said...

I've given this Formula idea a lot of thought, and I've decided there really is a formula. Of course, since I'm a chemistist, maybe I think of formulas in a different way, but, if you write a romance the formula is boy meets girl, there's a lot of trouble for both of them (conflict), they resolve the conflict (trouble) and live on happily, at least the end of the book. What could be simplier?
Ha! From the first line until you write 'the end' it's blood, sweat and tears. Debbie's 100% right. There is no way to 'plug' in your descriptions or names and 'write' a book. You've nailed it,Debbie.

Martha said...

Of course, Thank God for spell checkers. Looks like I should used one.

Carla Swafford said...

As the famous Mel Brooks said in BLAZING SADDLES, "Work, work, work.."