Five Things I Learned About Publishing

  1. I didn’t think rejection would disappear once I got my first book contract, but I thought the sting of it would lessen. False.

2. I learned to love Twitter, despite the soul-sucking potential of social media. I’ve read some great articles, essays, and poems that I wouldn’t have found without Twitter, and I’ve gotten advice (direct and indirect) about everything from writing to snake ID. I spend a few minutes each day to look for interesting writers, agents, and editors to follow, then make it my business to listen to what they say.

3. There are no guarantees in publishing. Even a good connection doesn’t necessarily make a working relationship happen. Self-promotion is extremely important and must be done often and across many platforms. That said…

4. Self-promotion only works if you care about what other people think and create. I knew this before, and caring about others’ projects and lives seems like a basic rule for responsible living, but I’ve seen some whopping examples of pure self-promotion without giving a damn about anyone else. Well, maybe these unnamed examples give a damn, but they don’t show it. And that’s not good.

5. There are some truly fascinating, caring, brilliant, talented people in the world, and befriending as many of them as possible helps counter the inevitable rough patches. I’ve met dozens of great folks since my book went under contract, and every single one of those friendships has bolstered me through bad news and rejection. I already had some wonderful people in my life, but this new group— some of whom I haven’t even met in person— really helps numb some of the difficult times. I now try harder to find the good people, and embrace them more appreciatively than ever.

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