Finish What You Start (or get out of the business)
I have a really harsh, but honest, word to share today. As the acquisitions editor of DB Publishing, I get a lot of pitches thrown at me. Some of them are great ideas. Because the Daemonolatry community is so small, I will often approve an idea and tell the author/artist that if they get it to me I can write up a contract, assign it to an editor, and it will be published once it goes through the editorial process. The problem is the people who pitch the ideas never seem to be able to deliver. I hear the pitch, I tell them to get me a completed MS or project, and it never manifests.Or I’ll get bits and pieces here and there and I’m expected to give input as it’s written. When I don’t provide the necessary hand-holding, the author usually disappears, never to be heard from again.
This is what separates the hobbyists and amateurs from those creative types serious about creative careers. You have to be able to finish what you start and come up with a first or second draft all by yourself. If you can’t do that – you need to get out of the business and quit wasting everyone’s time.
Sure, you may be a great writer or a superb illustrator, or even a brilliant musician, but unless you actually follow through with an idea and manifest that project — you are just a person with an idea. That’s it. You wonder why the E. L James’ of the world get their fan fiction turned BDSM-light published by big publishing houses? Because despite the horrific writing and cheesy story lines — their authors actually finish their projects, cheese and all, and throw it out there.
I know people who love to plan. They love the idea of the finished product. They can see it clearly, but the work between the idea and the finished project is what stumps them. They forgot to account for that. It’s always harder than they imagined. The romantic idea of being a published writer isn’t as glorious once most people realize how much work it actually is.
In the past 3 years I’ve gotten 5 pitches for Daemonolatry tarot decks which have never materialized. I’ve received 4 book pitches that have yet to manifest publishable manuscripts. And I’ve met scores of creative types who expected me to do at least half of the work for them, direct the project, or stand there and hand hold them through the initial writing as well as the editing, cheering them on. Sorry – but I have my own work to do. I have a hard enough time being my own cheerleader let alone everyone else’s.
Also, it’s not an editor’s job to re-write your MS for you, tell you what to write, reorganize an entire MS for you, or make it publishable. You at least have to give us a competed project to work with. Also – myself and other editors don’t have time to give you feedback on every step of the initial writing process. Please wait until you’re actually done with an article or book to actually send me what you have. I really am very busy.
So, all of that said, DB Publishing now only accepts COMPLETED PROJECTS for consideration. I will no longer approve pitch ideas from writers who don’t have a proven track record showing their ability to complete a manuscript or even an article. Yes, I have been very generous by allowing it up to this point, but I am not going to waste my time anymore.
Indeed, tenacity is a pre-requisite to completing any creative endeavor, and besides the work being daunting insecurities often stop people from following through. “Am I doing this right?” “Will others like it?” “What if it doesn’t turn out how I want?” The hand-holding you speak of might be people hoping for your guidance along the way. But for you to do the work for them crosses the line. It’s their project after all.
A millionaire once said that the biggest thing stopping people from achieving their dreams is their own fear. Courage and discipline: those who have these qualities stand out from mediocrity. The good news is that they can be cultivated by anyone, if one only commits strongly enough.
Yes, well guidance is fine when one is first learning how to write, draw, or compose. But one must first ask the person whose guidance they seek *if* they’re willing to guide. The only ones guiding me are my muse and Daemonic inspiration most days. I seek approval from no-one. I suppose I expect others to work the same way. Those who encourage me act more as enablers and generally when I bother them with an idea — I condense it down to one sentence and ask what they think. If they encourage – I go for it, third party human *guidance* be damned.
I totally understand what you are saying and most definitely you should not be doing someone else s work for them and yes folks who need the extra love and attention hand holding and guiding should realize everyone does not wish to give that. Folks can’t just expect that everyone out there will just give you what you need and want. some will and some won’t. I am glad that you jump out there and do what you want. I would like to think us humans guide you in a small part. Simply because you don’t write a book and then keep it to yourself. You write it and we like the words and work you put into it and we buy it. Which can be the encouragement to write more words. If we didn’t like it and buy it I am just saying don’t totally damn our opinion.who are you writing for. If it wasn’t for other humans wouldn’t your writing just be journals for yourself. Just a thought from a different perspective. I get the Idea and work all the beginning and middle to end is all you, and you know I love your work and support you by buying and reading it.
Well yes – in a way I write for my enablers (i.e. those who find my work inspiring or enjoy my stories). LOL! But I don’t expect those people to handhold me every step of the way and I don’t expect them sit around and tell me what to write either. That’s the point I’m making.
It’s also probably true that if it weren’t for my enablers, I would have never began writing Daemonolatry books to begin with. Not for publication anyway. 🙂 (Thank you for being an enabler btw! LOL)
And on that note — I’ve actually written a few books (and published them) just for me and a handful of close friends and family because they wanted copies of the stories. Readers don’t care for them much at all actually. 🙂 But then I’m an actual writer. For me, writing is like breathing. I have been in love with books and stories for as long as I can remember and I penned my first novel in grade school. I don’t think I could ever stop writing, and even if no one liked what I wrote — I’d still publish for family and close friends (and myself).
I did know that was what you meant and I love the attitude. Your love of writing and stories shows in your work. I hope you never quit finding things to write and writing them. I can tell you aren’t one to be handheld, be more like catybar the door cause there you go. Don’t figure anyone could stop you. I am sure there are those with crappy comments and attitudes but you are appreciated (I am sure) by many.