Seeing as how my LTUE talk is all put together, it doesn’t require any thought for me to at least give you a little beginning of the talk. I can’t post the PowerPoint, because wow, that would take up a lot of space, but I can reproduce the points I made and hope you can make the connections. Really, nothing I say is new, but the dating analogy works really well (which is why I’ve heard so many editors use it, I’m sure), so hopefully you’ll find it useful. Too bad you’ll miss the pretty slides of all our covers from my introduction. Go to http://mirrorstonebooks.com to make up for that. 🙂
So, here goes…
Collaboration: The Editor’s Role
in Making Your Book the Best Book You Could Ever Write
So you came here today expecting to hear a talk on working with an editor, right? What you didn’t know is that you’re going to get a lecture on dating. This is BYU, after all! How could I resist?
No, actually, despite my bachelor’s in MFHD—that’s marriage, family, and human development for those of you who aren’t BYU students—I’m really going to talk about collaboration with an editor. But I’ve come to find that dating can really become a great metaphor for a writer’s search for publication. So I’m going to use the idea of dating as a framework for my talk, and I think you’ll see there are some great insights we can gain, both as writers and editors, in learning how to “date” with a healthy attitude.
If you want to date, what do you do? Do you just start sending out emails to every guy or girl in your classes? Do you start asking out everyone you meet indiscriminately, barely pausing to ask their name? Of course not. You see someone in class that’s said something interesting, you join a club and meet people with similar interests, you see someone cute across the room at a friend’s party and you start a conversation. Getting published is the same way.
You have to treat it like you’re seeking a professional relationship—because you are. You are looking for a job; writing and getting that writing published is a job as much as it is an art.
Getting published is like dating
I’m going to use some dating cliches and apply them to the process of getting published. I’ll post one today, then the next one tomorrow, etc. That way it’ll break down to blog post length.
Today’s cliche: Be yourself
What kind of books do you love to read? What kind of stories do you love to tell? “If you do what you love, the money will follow,” as the saying goes. Don’t choose to write the “next Da Vinci code” or “the next Harry Potter” because it happens to be hot right now. Even if your manuscript got accepted today, it would be another two years or so before you’d see it on the shelves, and by then the trend will be over and people will be excited for some other hot new thing. Write what you love. Because it will show.
That also applies to originality. I was reading an agent’s blog the other day (full credit, it was agentobscura, I think–I’ve tried to link that several times to her LJ but it keeps messing with me, so I give up–who has been talking about this subject a lot recently), and she talked about how sometimes authors write the book they know their editor will accept rather than the masterpiece they’ve been wanting to write for years. There’s something to be said for marketability, but you have to allow your inspiration to lead your perspiration, because it’s your individual voice and originality that stands out when an editor is looking for the next big thing.
Next post: Put your best foot forward