Do not go blindfolded into the light.
Working in the publishing industry allows me the privilege of opportunity and access to a wealth of information, both of which offer their benefits and detriments to the craft of writing. “Learn everything you need to know” would most certainly be my initial advice but when shoveled in heaps upon a novice venturing into the publishing realm – well, it’s overwhelming, to say the least. How do you possibly know if you’ve learned everything you need to know when you have this growing, continuous heap of information building up around your head? How do you sort and separate? To whom should you listen or who do you ignore?
It is enough for the professional to keep things straight – how on earth can someone just new to the exploration ever distinguish the good from the bad, the worthy from the worthless? If we are to view the process as a whole, there is no information stone that should be left unturned and even bad information has its place on your learning curve. The question lies in the deciphering of which to heed and which to heave. We are prey out there foraging for a morsel of contentment when we search for outlets for our work. We write and submit with intent to publish for public consumption but we want it to be to our advantage in some way – we don’t expect to be taken advantage of…
No one way is truly the right (or the “write”) way because to everyone there will be a necessary answer to their journey’s quest. It might end up looking like it is the same for everyone, yet it is so very different in all respects because in the end it is you that must pull to you the correct string from amongst the web of choices. Be cautious, however, for interwoven in that mess is scam and temptation.
The Internet is full of offers. There are so many options and opportunities for those who know how to sift through the deluge but how do you know what is legitimate and what is not? It is a matter of learning and it is also a matter of deliberateness. Rely on your experience. Use research techniques. Ask others who may know or at the very least may be able to point you in the direction of answers. Listen to your heart, your head, and your gut. The old adage of “if it appears too good to be true, is it” rings true. Getting caught up in the excitement of your journey can overshadow caution. The cost could range from disappointment to dismay with an uninformed decision leading to higher degrees of loss. Investment in your project should be justified and detailed.
It is not the purpose of this post to name names or point fingers, but rather, to extend a cautionary note to those who seek publication of their work. Do not be hurried on your journey with high expectations and empty promises. Take time to investigate the terms and conditions of any offer; review provisions of contracts; read all the fine print and be prepared to step back – see with your head not your heart.
Creativity is a passion that drives us and in our dreams we can often go blindfolded into the light.