Monday, October 15, 2012

Is Your Path to Publication a Hiking Trail?

I've reached my 200th blog post (the one before this) and I would've thought by now I'd be writing about the joys of publication, but my path seems to be a hiking trail rather than a sidewalk. It's taking the scenic route.

Here's my question to you. Would you prefer your path to publication be a sidewalk or a hiking trail?

appalachian hiking trail
I get frustrated reading the success stories of writers who have gotten the sidewalk path. It's short, paved, and has clearly marked signs along it. Fate has presented these people with a wonderful, sunlit stroll to publication that the rest of us only dream of. Fate, or the route they chose.

Every writer knows that before you get on the path to publication, you have to go through the forest of process: writing, revision, critique from peers, etc. This, for some, can be a very hard road. So, perhaps the people who get the sunlit sidewalk had a rough tangle of brambles to pass through beforehand. When all the focus is on the final leg of their journey, it's hard to tell.

Those of us who get the hiking trail face the danger of getting lost in the woods. There are no trail signs, no guides to recommend who to submit to, no one to help when our manuscript doesn't fit into a nice little query box. (It's very hard to wrap a query box when you don't know what label to put on it.)

Sometimes we end up doubling back down the trail to find an easier way - self-publication. Sometimes we give up on the trail and take a new one, shelving that manuscript in favor of another. Sometimes we get off the trail and tromp blindly through the underbrush (which I feel like I've been doing lately).

I don't even know if this is the trail I'm supposed to be on, which might be why I haven't gotten as far as I'd hoped. If it was, wouldn't I have been more successful? Wouldn't I have reached the sunlit sidewalk by now?

If you're asking yourself questions like these, share your experience in the comments. At least we know there are other hikers in these woods.


  1. I have one traditionally published novel and one self-pubbed short story. And, I really had a lot of fun doing my self-pubbed short story. I took my time one Saturday picking out some art work and messing around with the formatting (sure it's only 13 pages but it was still fun). I threw it up on Amazon and Smashwords and a few people have read it and reviewed it. Am I a superstar? Nope. But I had a good time. I think if you have a few short stories you should do the same and see how it goes. Maybe even give some away for free. You've got huge illustration talent.

  2. Good idea, Michael! I've actually toyed with that thought before.

    I think it is all about enjoying yourself, whichever path you choose. If it's not fun, then maybe you should rethink it.

  3. I'm hiking...I think. And I think it's for the best. I've learned a lot on my hike, seen so much more than I imagine I'd see from the sidewalk. I guess you can say the hike forced me to build muscles I think I'll need once I'm published. :)

  4. Hi Donelle. Hey remember your secret weapon while you're "tromping blindly through the underbrush" your faerie friends! And I'll bet one or two of them, playful as they may be, are really your spirit guides. Counsel with them, they'll guide you.
    Personally, I believe, there isn't any wrong path to be on. If I'm here, I'm supposed to be. Fate will play out to deliver all of us our dreams. Sometimes we make adjustments along the way, change the course, but it's all about the journey not the destination, we must remember that. :) Namaste.
    see my postings


I'd love to hear what you have to say!

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