Saturday, September 28, 2013

Dear writer, How Happy Are You when You get Published?

Amongst working (aspiring?) fiction writers, publication often becomes a way of being validated. I remember 4 years ago, when my first story got picked up in an anthology of short stories, it made me feel as if the two years of work before that had been worth it.

More stories have followed since, and this year, when another one of my stories came out, I was happy but not ecstatic. 

My first ever crime story (written under D. Biswas), November Rain, has found a home in Crime Scene Asia Vol1 by Monsoon Books, Singapore. Beyond announcing its availability on Amazon to my Facebook friends, I've made very little noise about it.

Not because I don't appreciate being published, I do. 

I love that I was successfully able to write a story based in Singapore with a Singaporean protagonist, while not being Singaporean myself. As a writer I enjoy being inside the skin of someone else, in this case a former detective, now wheelchair bound, who loves peeping into the intimate lives of his neighbors and ends up committing murder.

But somewhere along the line, publication has become a subsidiary achievement, a corollary to my prime target, which is to enjoy writing, spend as much time doing it as possible, and learn how to do it better each day.  

I know I need to submit more of my short stories gathering dust, but I'm improving in my craft : my mentor, an MFA professor, said it isn't a chore to read my first draft-- she enjoys it-- the best compliment on my work this year. So while it is good to be published, it is even better to know my writing has evolved over the years.

I've been readingSuitable Accommodations’ a collection of letters by J.A. Powers (edited by his daughter Katherine Powers) which reads like a novel of a writer's family history. It has made me admire his passion for his writing, but a recent article about the book made me sit up. It says of Powers:


He was a restless fingerer of prose. He turned sentences around, looked at them, turned them around again, ate lunch, lay down, threw them out, started over. His friends warned that his “perfectionism” (his own word) would make him wacky. Lowell worried that he had whittled away his talent in the pursuit of “some ironic integrity.”

I'm hoping my perfectionism isn't making me wacky. But then I haven't written for quarter of the years Powers wrote, nor is my prose worthy of more than his pinky toe. 

So hopefully, I should be able to keep perfecting my craft and enjoying (barring the days of writing agony) my own stories for some years to come. In the meanwhile, I shall submit more stories to journals, and make more of an effort to talk about my published stories-- which has become almost essential in today's day and age when authors, whether traditionally published or self-published, have to market themselves.

What are your thoughts on being published? What do you do to promote your own work?


21 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the anthology!
    Being published adds a new level of pressure - to produce better and faster.

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  2. Congratulations on getting the story published!

    I think the most rewarding thing about being published is reaching readers. Particularly when they enjoy the writing, and even more when they say so.

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  3. I think we all end up a little wacky after weeks and months writing and writing. I know I'm about a 2b pencil short of a pencil case most days.

    regards,
    mood

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  4. Damyanti,
    Like you, I enjoy the process of writing. I also feel lots better after wrestling with sentences to get them just right, which means it takes me ages to edit anything. When I get to the point where I'm churning out books just to turn a profit, then the joy will have gone from writing.

    Promoting - not a lot right now. Beyond a big blast when the books are out and trying paid promos this last time, I tweet now and then, which isn't nearly enough.

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  5. I'm not the least excited anymore. I don't even keep track of when a book releases. I am told the book is available and I heave a huge sigh and say, "Oh, great, something else to promo the heck out of because publishers won't do anything for it." And I post about it once...and that's it. LOL What an interesting topic to bring up. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Congratulations on your getting published.. As for me, I have worked as a ghost writer for a few years before I actually started my blog.. I have never been as elated as the day when I started my blog.. For me, the thrill of seeing your name in print is overwhelming.. Hope to experience that thrill soon..

    But ofcourse, the best part is pouring yourself on paper..

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  7. I've been a freelance writer for 13 years. <the thrill of seeing my name in print wore of quickly. The real reward is the writing itself.

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  8. Congrats! Glad to see you're still blogging. I'm still trying to figure out how to fit it in with the baby and all the craziness surrounding him.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

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  9. Congrats! Hm, well, as wonderful as being published is, it does bring a lot of stresses with it, too.

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  10. My first book is being published by Simon & Schuster next August, and I have never been more excited in my life :) Bring on the stresses and deadlines. I can't wait!

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  11. Hi Damyanti,
    Congratulations.
    Well, I have gone beyond that stage.
    I don't like to be at the mercy of editors.
    Why put your happiness in someone else's hands when you can do it yourself.
    That is why I prefer to "publish" my stories on my blog.
    But there is no doubt that "publication" in print is a "validation" of your writing.
    I regularly read your writing and, indeed, you are an accomplished creative writer.
    All the Best - Keep Writing Keep Blogging
    Regards
    Vikram Karve
    Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve

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  12. I would be very happy to be published, but I haven't been doing much about it. You've been doing a good job.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  13. Congrats Damyanti!
    I love seeing my name in print! Felt wonderful when my stories and poems are published!
    I feel perfection is a rarity and those who are privileged to possess it, must display it!
    Yes, in today's day and age, marketing plays a major role.
    Wish you perfectionism and much success ahead! :)

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  14. Congrats to you!

    I had a flash fic published a couple of years ago, and I was so shocked, I didn't believe it at first. I had to wait several months before I SAW the story printed in the anthology until I actually felt good about it. I just wouldn't let myself be happy or truly own my accomplishment because I wasn't being kind enough to myself. I think I learned a lesson from that.

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  15. Congratulations on being published. The first time I saw my story in print was in the school magazine. I wanted to write and hoped to be published before thirty. Then it got changed to forty and then it got forgotten for a while. Writing is hard work. I never knock down a published author now, now matter what the quality of their writing. For they have sat down and accomplished what I still hope to do. I been 'published' on a a few websites, still amazed when it happens. Blogging provides a creative outlet, an escape from work pressures. I got published by an indie publisher last year. Not sure if only the authors bought copies or actual reader paid money to read my one short story. This year's volume will have two short stories by me, I'll probably buy a copy to leave behind for my daughters. Not sure if this still constitutes being published but maybe one day I might actually find someone willing to publish my work. At least I am writing now, the hope springs anew. Very happy to have visitors to my blog, even happier to get comments (very rare phenomena).

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  16. Congratulations! :) I guess being published gives one a sense of achievement and that's what drives most striving writers. If you are able to rise above that and just enjoy your work then trust me getting published will be a by product that will keep following you every where :)

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  17. and i forgot.. here is the link to my blog, do visit some time :)
    http://www.seetabodke.com

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  18. Congratulation on the anthology , my best wishes for YOU.
    Website Design Company

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  19. It's really a marvellous feeling when you see your name on print. Congrats to you! Love the name of your blog!

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