It is always such an honor when one of our newsletter subscribers reach out to us in reply to one of our emails. It’s confirmation that when we ask our readers questions in the newsletters, they don’t always see it as some rhetorical question a copywriting expert suggested we include in our correspondence. We really want to know our readers’ wins, losses, pain points, and joy experienced on their literary journey. And we want their fellow Pathfinders to know as well. After all, that’s how we can learn from and support one another. That’s why in this blog we are sharing a response from one of our subscribers and the reply our CEO, Joylynn M. Ross, provided:
Subscriber: If you are seriously asking how writers feel about their journey on the path to publishing, I shall take the time and share with you mine.
I am sure every writer or a wannabe writer would agree that writing is a labor of love. And why is it not? After all, it’s the romance with artistry, the perfection of building a castle with the right word next to the exact one, and the daydreams of seeing one’s name on the gate.
And what a rush it would be when the book becomes a bestseller! Its thousands of screaming fans packed in an auditorium, the gold medal at the Olympic games, and winning an Oscar at the same time.
But reality hits, and it hits hard.
The dreams become nightmares.
The joy of writing, searching for the exact combination of letters, words, and the mind-grabbing imagery they possess become an arduous task of countless days and nights looking for those memorable characters, unique storylines, and heart-wrenching scenes. Life becomes a series of crushing failures and defeats. The thoughts of writing a book becomes hopes of finishing a rough draft, and the mind settles for just finishing one chapter; a completion of the first step.
Then doubt sets in.
Days without showering or a decent meal becomes a lifestyle. Family and friends begin wondering whether they should set up an intervention or therapy.
I am sure you know the rest.
Whether it’s getting fired from a tedious job not done right, or quitting that said job to concentrate on the mission, unemployment becomes inevitable.
A year or two later, the first draft is finished and it is rubbish. An edit it must have.
It’s still rubbish.
After the second edit, third, fourth and fifth edits, it is still rubbish. The story needs professional editing.
By definition, professional editors cost money a writer never has but he must find to come close to finishing the book. Once the expenses and suspenses are exhausted, the book is as ready as it could be. It’s not anywhere near the perfection once imagined, but nothing else can be done anymore. Off we go, the path to publishing begins.
Seriously! Another road ahead?
Additional professionals, who also require money to move the book inches on that long path. And if by sheer magic or hard knocks obstinance the book makes it to a print shop, bookstores or Amazon will chop 30-50% of the book’s face price for just listing it.
Is it any wonder that Jeff Bezos is the fastest growing richest man in the history of mankind, excluding the British royal family and the Rothschild family whose wealth are never reported?
By contrast, most writers die poor, despondent, and most never see a penny for their struggles and sacrifices, let alone see their name on the cover of a book, unless they pay for its publishing and purchase it to satisfy their egos.
I hope that answers your question, if you had not known.
Signed the subscriber – Still writing but nowhere near publishing
Joylynn M. Ross: Thank you so very much for not only replying to our request in the Path To Publishing newsletter, but for being so authentic, genuine, and transparent in your reply. As the CEO and founder of Path to Publishing, your words truly resonated with me.
Once upon a time during my literary journey, I experienced many of those same emotions you shared in your email. (Some of those same emotions I still experience to this day.) The thing is; I know we’re not alone. I knew I wasn’t alone, which is exactly why I founded Path To Publishing. I temporarily put my pen down from crafting my own literary works to create resources, information, curriculum, courses, newsletters, social media posts, and any other type of content that would encourage other writers and authors to pick their pens up. To prevent discouraged writers and authors who just couldn’t see themselves reaching their personal measure of literary success and financial literary success from throwing in the towel (their pens).
Because along my literary journey I’d been published by some of the major publishing houses and by some independent publishers; I was self-published and did some POD publishing, and because I was very intentional about learning what stood between me not reaching my literary dreams, visions, and goals and what could accelerate and catapult me toward reaching them, I became committed to sharing my findings with my fellow literary artists. I became committed to finding the various formulas, systems, strategies, and techniques that could help writers and authors create literary legacies while building literary empires. In other words, yes, I wanted my colleagues to be able to see their name in print, and for their written words to outlive them, blessing others, entertaining others, helping others, and even saving others, but I also wanted them to make money in the process.
Because like you so poetically put it, it takes money to move the messages and stories in our books.
In the Path To Publishing community us Pathfinders have a saying, “Don’t allow other people to tell you
what you can’t do simply because they couldn’t figure out how to do it.” Then, of course, you might have heard of Marie Forleo and her New York Times Bestselling book, Everything is Figureoutable. And guess what? It is!
I ruffle feathers when I tell authors, “Hey, if you’re a struggling author, it’s because you’re choosing to be. There are far too many resources and provisions out here for you to be struggling.” As painful as that may be to hear, it’s the truth. Most authors don’t take the time to really sit down and determine what their writing goals are, what their publishing goals are, what their measure of literary success is, what their measure of financial literary success is. Out of all the authors who want to make a living as a writer, very few of them have sat down to even determine what making a living looks like to them, what it's going to take to achieve it, and if they are willing to do what it takes.
For anyone who simply wants to see their name in print on a book cover, that is doable. POD services offered by Amazon and IngramSpark make that very doable at very little or no cost at all. So, that’s an easy goal to hit. But for those of us who want more, we have to do more. Don’t mean to get religious on you, but the Word says to whom much is given, much is required. That means in order to reach your dreams, visions, and goals—your measure of success, regardless of what it is—it’s going to take work. Lots of work! And in addition to that, faith, time, and, you guessed it—money.
That money part is what stifles most author’s dreams. That’s why in all my research and learning, I focus a great deal on teaching individuals how to build their book and book business—how to pay for editing, book cover designs, etc.—with other people’s money. How to get grants, fellowships, paid residencies, funding as an artist and funding as a business (because your book is your business, especially if you have a price tag on it). I’ve watched Pathfinders receive free money—money they don’t have to pay back with the exception of producing (or learning how to produce) their book. Money they’ve used to pay for editing, book cover design, typesetting, marketing, promotion, etc. Money they’ve used to attend conferences, workshops, work with industry professionals to help them make even more money and become more successful.
So, even though as writers and authors at times we may find ourselves feeling as if woe is me, we may feel like struggling authors, and we may feel as though we’ll never reach our dreams, we don’t have to stay in that place . . . unless it’s so comfortable that we choose to.
Get uncomfortable and get to work! You have a message you want to share with the world, whether it be to touch others or for your own ego and vanity? This is a no judgement zone. Your why is your why. Own it and be intentional about seeing your efforts through.
Path To Publishing offers a ton of resources, free and paid, that will help you along your literary journey, and we have a literary tribe, community, and family that will assist you and support you along your journey.
Visit https://www.pathtopublishing.com/resources and click the first image under “Resources” to begin to utilize those resources.
The path to publishing ain’t no joyride; it’s a journey, one that you don’t have to travel alone, and one that will be less frustrating if you utilize the resources that are being offered to you.
Wishing you much literary and financial literary success!
Joylynn M. Ross
CEO of Path To Publishing