Still a Writer

As a high school teacher, I learn as much from my students as I teach them. For example, several weeks ago, when I was teaching my students about the root “therm,” I got an education on thermite, and the fact that it can burn underwater. More recently, I overheard one of my students, who is getting ready to apply for a specialty arts program, say something really simple, but really profound, to a classmate sitting in her little pod of student desks: “I really hope they [the judges/admissions committee] like my art and that I get in, but at the end of the day, regardless of the results, I am still an artist.”

“I really hope they like my art, but at the end of the day, regardless of the results, I am still an artist.”

This statement resonated with me because, for the last few months, I have been sending query letters for my debut novel, Goodbye for Now, out into the ultra-competitive world of literary agents and publishers in the hopes of following the traditional route to seeing it published. So, far I have queried about fifteen agents (though it feels more like 1500)–some of whom have thanks-but-no-thanksed me the very day they received my query. I won’t lie and tell you that isn’t disheartening, because it is–it really, really is. But not disheartening enough to stop me. Not yet. I intend to query at least one agent a week for the entirety of 2017 before switching my tactic. If December 31, 2017, rolls around, and I still don’t have a single offer of representation, I will either reevaluate my query or attempt a new route altogether.

On those days when maybe the rejection starts to get to me just a little, I will remember the words of my student, and I will remind myself: At the end of the day, regardless of the results, I am still a writer.

And on those days when maybe the rejection starts to get to me just a little, I will remember the words of my student, and I will remind myself: I really hope agents and publishers and readers like my book, but at the end of the day, regardless of the results, I am still a writer. That part of my identity is not reliant on the validation of the mainstream publishing world (though it would be nice, and it is my goal…), nor is it dependent on recognition from critics or reviewers (though that would be nice, too). It relies only on the fact that I continue to do one thing: write. And that, my friends, I most certainly will do.

Your identity as a writer does not rely on the validation of the mainstream publishing world, nor does it depend on recognition from critics or reviewers. It relies only on the fact that you continue to do one thing: write.

 

A New Pathway to Publication: Kazabo

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The first James River Writers Writing Show I attended took place in March. The focus was blogging.

I love the Get Your Word On e-mail newsletter put out by my local writing organization, James River Writers. I learn so much every time I read it, and last night was no exception. Not only was I reminded of the upcoming Writing Show, Editing for Impact, near the end of the month, but I also learned the Annual Poetry Festival and Conference, put on by  The Poetry Society of Virginia, is next weekend. I plan to take advantage of both of these events, and a third: Kazabo.com. I had never heard of Kazabo Publishing until I read about them in Get Your Word On less than twenty-four hours ago, but I am sure glad I know about them now! The site has resources for new authors, established authors, and readers–something for everyone!

If you are a reader, you can visit Kazabo.com and fill out a profile. As soon as a book or author that they think you will enjoy emerges, they’ll notify you.

Kazabo has a phenomenal program in the works for emerging authors, as well. As an emerging author, you can send them your book. They will then send you five books to review. You have a certain amount of time to turn in your review of each book, and after you have done so, your own book will be reviewed. Beyond that step, one of two things can happen: either they will seek you out for a publishing contract (!) or they won’t–but you will still have several reviews of your work, and from there, you can revise it, and potentially try again. Even if your work is not selected for publication, the feedback would be invaluable for future success. For more information on how to get involved, check out their FAQs.

As for me, I have already completed my New Author Registration (it was super quick and easy), and just as soon as I finish revising draft three of Goodbye For Now, I plan to send it in! It’s a win-win: I get to read several new books and help other aspiring authors, receive unbiased feedback on my own work, and maybe even see my novel published.

If you know of any aspiring authors, please share this information with them by sharing this post on your social media sites, or otherwise sending them to my blog!