How hard was it? someone asked me.

So, I’m over at Wattpad today, checking out how many people have read the first installment of Trouble on Reserve, (cause I’m curious like that) and I realize there’s a little talk button, and someone’s asked me a question. Oh, I’m torn. I had told myself I could take on one more PR commitment as long as it didn’t involve one-on-one interaction with the readers, as in personal emails, and I don’t know if this is a public forum or private. But I clicked it, and was immediately thrown back to my awkward past.

Someone wanted to know how hard it was to become published.

Sigh. Okay, do I even have the knowledge that this person is looking for anymore? I mean, I found publication before e-books and when self-publishing was 300 oversized copies you carry around in your trunk. There was hardly an internet, spammers were just learning to spam, the Big 6 were really six publishers, and slush piles were still a viable option.

But one part of my answer is still valid. It was hard. Emotionally, trying to get someone to look at my work and say yes was like a barren woman’s ache for a child, a young girl pinning after her first-love, a two-year-old with a skinned knee just wanting his mom. It was a hurt, a need, a lizard-brain gut reaction of must-have.

The want was awful, but from it came the determination I needed to develop the bravery to share my work, learn how to find good advice, and then adapt my work so it was more professional. So when I’m asked, “How hard was it to become published?” my answer will always be, It didn’t matter how hard it was.  I had to do it.

Feed your lizard-brain. Wear the N off your keyboard. Get published.




Filed under Drama Box

27 responses to “How hard was it? someone asked me.

  1. Martin

    Thank you for not letting the hard work deter you. Thank you for being willing to push through the insecurity and fear. Thank you for persevering. You have brightened so many lives. You make a difference.

  2. MelanieL

    I’m not concerned yet with being published as right now I know I have to worry first about getting resolution to my emotional hangups that are holding my writing down. If I ever manage that and complete something, then I’ll worry about the in and out of being published.

    However, I wanted to thank you because even though the question of publishing doesn’t apply for me, the advice touched my heart. So, thank you!

  3. Alexis

    Thank so much for this Kim. I’ve just started querying, and boy is it tough!
    Writing is hard. It’s demanding and you have to be disciplined enough to sit down everyday for X amount of hours whether you feel like it or not. Trying to get published is scary and time consuming as well as confusing to navigate, but it is also rewarding to know after months of hard work, you’ve come this far.
    Oh, and what’s the quote? “Anything worth having doesn’t come easy”?
    That’s exactly how I feel about the process.
    And that’s totally OK with me.
    Hope you’re having a great weekend, Kim!

  4. You do inspire people. Not just writers but artists of every form. You are a great motivator! Pikachu is my favorite Pokemon ❤

  5. Rocky Reeves

    Your advice on getting published is good for anyone entering any creative field. In my 60 (almost 61) years I’ve worked professionally in four creative fields and actually made a living in three of those. And it was hard, and it was frustrating, and it was demanding in all of them. And the question many would ask, is why do it. And to me, the answer is, because you have no choice. If you have the need to create, to take something that comes from within and give it life, and nothing else can bring that fulfillment to your
    life, then you have no choice but to accept the challenges, and dedicate yourself to the hard work required to make it. If your art doesn’t create that kind if need in you, keep it as a hobby and enjoy the happiness that brings. But don’t try to make it a career.

    BTW Kim, I finially finished one of the read along books before the last weekend. I didn’t get much sleep this week, but i’m on Pale Demon now.

  6. Jody

    On a side note.. right now I am just loving the Pikachu and easy button on your desk. I have an easy button and a Yoda on mine 🙂

  7. Look online for a site called Predators and Editors. This site staff keeps a diligent watch for scammers. This site is also used for reference in the writing program which I am enrolled on campus at Phoenix College. People registered with this organization must fulfill a certain rating standard to be included.

  8. I always appreciate and admire how you answer this question–you combine honesty about the difficulty with the inspiration to keep trying. Thanks.

  9. I thank you all for your advice and wisdom. I am just starting down the self-publishing road, having tried the traditional route for many years and been frustrated. I aspire to become like you, Kim, creating a world people want to enjoy the rest of their lives. Wish me luck and love your books.

  10. Hell Yeah!!!!! …I mean… that’s right!!! You are such a powerful motivator Kim!!! We are so lucky to have you!!!!!

  11. Diana L.

    I ditto everyone else … Thank you, and to all the comments as well. The insight that you share is invaluable. Your daily blogs are a treasure. I have a high school age daughter who rights amazing short stories that she will pull out of her head at the last minute because her absolute final deadline is at midnight and she has to get “something” in. (Keeping in mind that her homework load is 3-4+ hours a night). I keep telling her that she needs to expound on her ideas and start on a book, but she doesn’t think she’s good enough. Your advice and reader’s comments provide a great way to show her that she is good enough if she works hard and doesn’t give up. Thank you again to all who share!

    • SquidgeWA (aka JKH)

      Diana, suggest that your daughter keep a copy of her writings — essays, reports, short stories — on a flash drive if she can. Later she can mine them, rework them, upgrade them for college-level stuff, and have all those stories in her “cabinet of awesomeness” to pull out and play with again. I wish I had done that — actually in my high school years it would have been carbon copies of my painfully typed-on-a-manual-machine papers. But I wish I had some of that stuff still, as much as I would cringe at the naivete and crudeness of it all. Diamonds come from crude coal, y’know.

    • Diana L.

      Thank you, that is great advice. Gotta love those flash drives and laptops. Keeping records is so much easier these days!

  12. Paragraph 4: Best imagery ever.

  13. old72jim

    Hi Ms. Kim I don’t have it hard,(fortunately) nowadays. The hard part came a few years ago, learning how to talk all over again and learning how to walk again.The only thing that kept me going was wanting to be independent still.I still fall down,but I’m still living by myself,(With a homemaker, an aide and a lifeline button that I have to use regularly) and still cooking, and taking care of my cats, which I couldn’t do in a nursing home. I take it you will be watching the Westminster dog show. Just remember they are wolves according to Discover Channel, which is never wrong!

    • SquidgeWA (aka JKH)

      Hey Jim, goto, about wolves’ evolution. There’s some evidence now that wolves and domestic dogs were/are genetically separate, but evolved from a common ancestor. Interesting, no?

  14. Linda Craft.

    My daughter is in the publishing business. In marketing. she went to a conference of self published authors last year. One of her biggest comments was as self published authors don’t have the luxury of being all about the writing. they have to do social media, they need to polish their public appearance. If you don’t know how, start asking. Call up your Mary Kay lady, that’s for you guys too, skin and hair care aren’t gender specific. Find some one who does social media well and learn. So you have 2 full time jobs to work at, not just the writing. oh and you have to make a living too. I think I’ll stay working costumes and alterations and play with my theater group.

    • Linda, I hate to break it to you, but even a big-six published author has to do social media, polish their public image, and learn how to update their website. But the rest? Yes, I’m glad I have someone to set up tours, design my covers, proof read, edit, package, market to the book sellers, send out the ARCS, and present me with online opportunities. And make me dinner. Especially make me dinner.

    • SquidgeWA (aka JKH)

      Amen, Linda Craft, amen! Most women have at least 2 full-time jobs, the one that brings in money, and the one that holds the family together. We still have to carve out a little time for ourselves, beyond sleep and the occasional tub-soak. I recommend delegating things to the other family members.

  15. And it is still hard (harder?) … fewer publishers and more ways to self-publish than you can shake a stick at. I don’t know if it’s better or worse for new authors … or just so different it’s hard compare. I worked at Doubleday back in the 1970s. It’s as if I worked on another planet. Those were days when working in publishing was special. Getting to handle manuscripts and work with authors was the ultimate thrill for us. Now, it’s all bottom-line driven. Max Perkins’ ghost doesn’t haunt the hallways of Scribner.

  16. Hi Kim,
    First, thanks for pointing out the existence of Wattpad! Interesting concept. Second, good answer! As a self-published author, I can tell anyone that the difficulty is there too (it’s all about your level of perfectionism; unless you’re flush, you’re on your own!). I can’t begin to calculate the brain-squeezing hours spent, not on initial writing, but on learning, reading, then trying new things over and over again (much of it technology); then having to hone it all while honing the writing. All of what you said is true and thank goodness my lizard brain beat out my wimpy human one. Even when the human fears were bombarding me, the lizard flicked it’s tongue calmly and said, “Just get on with it. There’s no other option.”

  17. Aly

    Great article. I like your constipated pikachu.

  18. Mariette

    No matter what you’re trying to accomplish, it’s always the same. Work hard, listen to criticism, and grow.
    I am so happy that your determination paid off because the world of the Hollows is one I will continue to revisit for the rest of my life.

    Thank you!

  19. Thank you for this. I have gone the self-publishing route, and my second book’s rough draft has been kicking my butt lately. It’s inspiring to hear from a writer I look up to that it was *hard* for you too. (Maybe still is sometimes? 🙂 Haha.) Just what I needed to hear before the weekend! You’re totally right. There’s no substitute for hard work. I’m going to see what letter I can wear off my keyboard!

  20. Cindy

    Thank you so much, Kim, for today’s post! I’m not a writer (so getting published is not an issue for me!), however, your answer was just what I needed to hear to inspire me to continue to seek the creative flow of art and dance that I am striving for in my life.

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