While some were partying and others were snoring in their beds, I kicked off the New Year with yet another rejection. I am seriously thinking of taking my writerly ball and going home.
Don't panic, though. I'll never quit writing. The idea I toy with now and then is to stop submitting my work to traditional Christian publishers. Hold on a second...this is not a rant against the establishment. We readers owe the big pubs gratitude for putting books into our hot little hands, so I am not dissing the CBA.
What exactly am I talking about? I don't think I fit into their winning formula. Let's pick it apart piece by piece and you'll see what I mean...
Good Writing + Unique Voice + Story-that-fits-easily-into-marketable-Christian-category = Contract
This part of the formula takes grunt work. You need to learn the trade and learn it well. It takes practice, typing your fingers to the nubs, and a whole lot of butt-in-chair time. I believe anyone can learn this if they are humble enough to take criticism and motivated to do the work.
This second addend is a little trickier. Voice isn't something you learn. It's completely you. It's the words that flow after you stop worrying about what other people think of your writing. This is the stage whereupon you perform as little ol' you in the guise of story and character. I believe everyone has a voice but not everyone is able to let go and give it free rein.
STORY THAT FITS EASILY INTO MARKETABLE CHRISTIAN CATEGORY
Here's my Achille's heel. There are certain genres that are trendy, and if you want a contract, you need to write in those genres. And even if you write in a genre that is selling, you must keep the story within defined boundaries. At this particular stage in our economy, risk takers who stray from the accepted path will not win the contract.
So what I learned in 2012, besides that I stink at math, is that I need to make a decision. Either I play the publishing game according to the rules, or I quit beating my head against that wall and write for the sheer joy of writing. It's a crossroads every rogue writer eventually comes to.
What road do you think I'll take?