Friday, October 21, 2011
How the Trafalmadorians Saved my Writing Career
Today I am welcoming someone who is so full of publishing knowledge, it scares me - Anne R. Allen! Her weekly posts have me in total awe. So, it is with great honor that I let her take over for the day. (Because you’re not getting smart publishing stuff from me!)
by Anne R. Allen
Writing careers have ups and downs. But after my UK publisher went out of business—followed by the two magazines where I had regular gigs—mine went mostly downward.
I kept writing—sending endless queries into a black hole of rejection, not realizing the less-than-phenomenal sales of my UK books pretty much stamped “reject this writer” on my forehead.
Figuring my fiction career was over, I started a blog to help newbies learn from my mistakes.
Nobody read that either.
But a few months later, Nathan Bransford accepted me as a guest poster. I’d been going through one of those dark teatimes of the writers’ soul when you wonder if you’re delusional, clueless, masochistic or all of the above. I wanted to know what keeps us writing year after year despite endless rejection.
I came up with my theory about the Trafalmadorians.
If you’ve read Kurt Vonnegut, you know about Tralfamadore. It’s a planet where a super-race of toilet plungers exist in all times simultaneously and control all aspects of human life.
Since they have infinite time on their hands, I figured they need lots of books. And how do they get them? They compel earthlings to write novels! Millions of them. Way more than earthbound publishers and readers can handle. But on Tralfamadore—they’re consumed like Skittles.
I figured the Tralfamadorians were so eager for new material, they’d worked out how to transmit stories from our brainwaves to their TralfamaKindles the minute we type “the end” on that final draft.
In fact at this moment, your first novel—the one that’s been sitting in the bottom of a drawer along with 350 rejection letters and the restraining order from that editor at Tor—could be at the top of the New Tralfamadore Times bestseller list.
Nathan posted it in January 2010. My blog started getting visitors. I was invited to guest at prestigious blogs. PAY IT FORWARD author Catherine Ryan Hyde asked me to collaborate on a handbook for writers. I was asked to teach at the Central Coast Writers Conference. Publishers started contacting me, asking me to submit. (Yeah—kind of amazing.)
None of it would have happened if it hadn’t been for those Trafalmadorians.
So the next time you’re going through the “Am-I-Crazies”—wondering why you keep pounding the keyboard, polishing up that opus, even though everybody, even your girlfriend—and your MOM for goodness sake—says it sux…
Realize you could be getting secret transmissions from Doubleday of Tralfamadore saying, “Hurry up! We gotta have this for our Christmas list!”
Hey, just prove it’s not true.
Anne R. Allen blogs with NYT bestselling author Ruth Harris at Anne R. Allen’s blog - updated on Sundays. Anne’s books are available on Amazon and Amazon UK, as well as Popcorn Press and Mark Williams International Digital Publishing.
Questions for Anne? Questions for me? Are you totally lost? Want more scary pictures of Chewbacca?