After attending my first writers’ conference, I came away inspired, and with a bucketload of great ideas! Of course, I won’t post the content of anyone’s actual presentation, as that’s not mine to share. However, I hope you benefit from these thoughts on what I learned, and some ideas on how I plan to apply them in my own journey. This is the sixth in a series of posts on lessons learned from the SCBWI Northern Ohio 2017 Conference.
Lesson 6: “I have to love something if I’m going to advocate for it.”
My sixth session of the conference was a plenary by Brett Duquette (@brettduquette), Senior Editor at Sterling Publishing, on the publishing process from acquisition to publication. He talked about his team structure, and how each piece fits into the puzzle of determining what books they’ll choose to publish, and how the process works. The biggest lesson wasn’t exactly a surprise, but was definitely something I hadn’t thought much about.
One of his points was that the publishing process takes time. The books he’s trying to acquire now won’t be published until 2018 or even 2019. Therefore, if an editor wants to take your book on, they will have to spend a lot of time and energy convincing others that your vision is worth pursuing. They’ll become your advocate from that end of the process.
Long story short:
You need a strong vision for your story, and you need the confidence to convince others of it. And you need the patience to walk people through it. And you need the thick skin to understand that not everyone is going to get it. And you need the conviction that if an editor doesn’t get it right away, they might not be the right fit.
Result: Each little piece of the process has helped me realize I need to build my own confidence in my story. If I don’t believe in me, I can’t expect other people to believe. Again, nothing I didn’t know, but it helps to hear it from the pros.
I’ll keep you posted as I make progress. In the meantime, please share something surprising, but not surprising, about your own writing/editing/publishing journey.