Dream Big? Start Small

The first time I sold a short story, it was a very small sale. It was for a tiny little e-publishing company that published on a website and sold compactions through Amazon. I wasn’t paid. And I’m pretty sure it was simply someone looking for stuff to sell through Amazon Kindle. It’s not a bad site, but I think they would have accepted just about anything given them.

But, you know what? I was excited. It made me happy that I’d been published, even if it was a much smaller venue than I’d hoped.

The second time I was published, it was a small writing/drawing job for the office where my mother works. This one, I did get paid for, and I wrote illustrated information pamphlets to be handed out at the office. It wasn’t much of a first paying job, as my mother had gotten it for me. Still, it made me feel good to get paid to write and draw something.

When I mentioned this on a forum, and mentioned that my credentials were nothing special, someone told me something that’s stuck with me for some time.
“A sale is a sale.”

This is true. Naturally, when I first started trying to get things published, I submitted things to well-known magazine titles with large reader bases, good sized publishing houses and things like that. Like so many of us, I got rejected. Surely it was the quality of the writing that counted, and not the length of my resume or the fact that I was an unpublished author that mattered, right?

Well, the truth is that occasionally a publishing house will find someone they are very excited about who has never been published, and declare to the stars that they have “discovered” them.

Do not count on this happening.

As heartbreaking as it is, a writer needs a resume. In order to build your resume, please know that there is no shame in thinking small. Poetry contests for county fairs, articles for church newsletters, community newspapers, all of these things and more provide an invaluable source of beginning resume fodder.

No, writing for your church newsletter will not get you discovered by Random House. But, it might get you noticed by someone looking for someone to write for a local newspaper, which might get you work for a small circulation magazine and so on.

I think we all remember the 1990’s movie “What About Bob.” The “Baby Steps” joke did get worn out. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t applicable.

Start as high as you want. If you wrote a story that you love, submit it to the biggest, most famous publisher in the land. If it gets rejected, it’s not going to get a big “Rejected by…” stamp on it for all to see. There’s nothing to lose. If you get published, that’s great. But, if you don’t, you might want to build your resume and readership.

And, if it’s your resume you’re looking to create, don’t be afraid to think local, and think small. Eventually, the more little jobs you do, the bigger the jobs will become. Then, with hard work, you just might reach your writing goals.

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Birth of a New Blog!

“Oh look, another writing blog. They’re all the same. It’s all just the same stuff, rehashed over and over again. If you’ve read one you’ve read them all.”

Well, now you can read mine.

Hello there! I’m now starting the one-millionth writing blog on the internet. I’m looking forward to carving out my little place here. This is going to be fun for me.  If you’d like to keep reading, I hope it will be fun for you too.

My name is Georgette Graham, and I am a struggling writer. If you think those two words go together far too often, you’re right. It seems like all but a gilded few of us write either have a day job, or we’re struggling. I have a day job myself. Even still, I am a writer because I write; not because that’s how I make my living.

Writers are a strange breed. We live in a world of late nights, fights for inspiration, struggles with agents and publishers, and stretches of rejection interrupted by successes only occasionally. At least I do. It’s frustrating to me, but it’s also wonderful. I love writing. My characters and stories and the worlds they inhabit are very dear to me. I hope you’ll stick around and learn a little more about them.

I intend to use this blog to share, not only things that I have learned about the writing process through the years, but also to write about my own work towards my publication goals. There will be articles about writing and pre-writing, character creation and development, and tricks I have learned that help me to organize notes and research, as well as talk about my efforts both in traditional and internet self-publishing, and using social media to help generate readership.

So, a little more about me: I studied English in college, and focused on Victorian Literature.  I have a second major in Theater, and studied both acting and playwriting. As a writer, I have had a few minor short story sales and have worked locally writing for businesses and newsletters. You, as a reader, might have even had more success writing than I have. Good! Comment away and we’ll all help each other! I love books, both reading and writing. I love music of most any kind from Abba to Nirvana. I love my cats, Chinese food, and singing in the shower. I’ll be pretty open that yes, there is an element of self-promotion here.  I suppose I could try and be all self-righteous and deny that, but I don’t see the point.  Besides, that’s not the primary reason for my being here. My primary reason for being here is to connect with other authors, learn from their experiences, and hopefully offer some advice of my own to help other writers that are in the same boat as me.

With that, I send my best wishes to you all, keep writing and never give up.

Remember, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” was rejected over 100 times before it was ever published. Just think of that the next time you get a rejection notice.

Whatever Holiday you celebrate this time of year, may it be happy, blessed, and merry!