Monthly Archives: December 2013

“Submission Tip #30: Publishing Fast vs. Publishing Well

“I know that we live in an accelerated society full of impatient strivers trying to make their mark during a period of economic uncertainty and against intense competition (and blah, blah, blah…). Still, I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest to young writers that they think less about publishing fast than publishing well. 

“Meaning what? Meaning that for many of us it’s a long life. We have a lot of years to write material that is meaningful to us—books and essays and stories we’re proud of. And I see too many writers exhibiting a sense of panic about getting their stuff published now, signing with an agent, securing a book contract, and maybe agreeing to unrealistic deadlines and terms they might come to regret. I see writers so hungry for validation that they don’t have time to focus on what, exactly, is being validated. I felt this same crippling urgency when I was in my 20s, but I, like most, was lucky enough to be ignored and rejected by the publishing world for ten years until I had a better idea of was I was doing.

“Strike while the iron is hot! That’s the sound of a businessperson talking to a young writer. You’ve just published an article or story that has everyone talking, so better sign on with that interested agent now and get that book deal in ink.

“Guess what. That iron can be made hot again simply by putting in your time and writing a good book. And that iron can be made very cool by forcing out a bad book prematurely.

“I don’t know. I’ll be the first to admit that deadlines and pressure are essential to making a living as a writer (so is cutting your teeth in publishing by being willing to write just about anything for any venue). And I have seen plenty of writers get connected to excellent agents and editors through their exposure…. 

“At the same time, I wish young writers could have more time to do what they must and grow in the ways they need to without feeling like they have to leap for the golden ring at the first sign of marketable interest.

“Your writing is yours. Others can sell it, but ultimately your writing will represent you, not them. Protect it.”