Permit me a few kilobytes to explain why.
- Take 100,000 wanna be singers.
- Narrow them down to the 150 that make it past Simon, Kara, Paula, and Randy.
- Chose 36 from Hollywood week and stick them in front of America.
- We choose the winner.
- 100,000 manuscripts.
- 150 make it past the editors at the publishing house.
- The pub board chooses to publish thirty-six of them.
- The buying public decides if the book is a winner.
Yes, it's as tough to get published as it is to get a shot on American Idol.
Now some good news:
Most people give up.That's more than a few kilobytes so let's wrap up.
Simon tells singers that aren't quite ready, to practice their craft on the small circuit, pay their dues, work their way up. Most don't listen. They want stardom immediately, and when they don't achieve it, they give up on their dream.
Same thing with writers. A few rejections and they hang up their laptop. Don't. Work at your craft. Get feedback. Read blogs. Study books on writing. Join a critique group. Then come back and try out again.
Editors and agents WANT you to succeed.
American Idol wants to find the next great artist. So do agents and editors. They're not against you. They're for you and your success. Truly.
If you've never been to a conference, you'll scuttle away from Florida saying, "Wow, they're really nice people." They are. No fangs on any of them, I guarantee. They're approachable and kind. (But don't pitch your idea as you stand next to them at the urinal, as one writer did with my agent. No, I’m not kidding.)
You'll hear the truth—listen to it.
Agents and editors are not out to waste your time or theirs. While some might placate you because they don't want to hurt your feelings, the vast majority will tell you the truth about your writing. Listen to them. They know what they're talking about.
Many singers on A.I. fight against the judge's comments. "You don't know nuthin. You don't know good singers!"
Uh, Simon & co. know talent. Halfway through season four, Simon said Carrie Underwood would outsell all the other American Idol winners. Bingo.
Agents and editors know talent too. When you get feedback from them, especially at a top tier venue like the Florida Christian Writers Conference, listen. Apply their counsel. You'll see a quantum leap forward in your writing.
If you're a fan--and even if you're not--I'd love to hear other parallels you see between American Idol and the publishing world.
And no, Billie hasn't invited any Cowell-like editors or agents to the conference. (I hope.)
Jim & Laura
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