Sometimes, it’s difficult to remember why we do what we do. We sit for hours and hours behind a computer screen or a typewriter (for those of you who find this inspires your creativity) and write and rewrite and then bang our heads against the desk and walk away and come back and cry because just when we think we’ve constructed the perfect introduction, we realize we missed our own point entirely and we have to start over.
But sometimes, we write a character so profound and so brilliant and so relatable that we love it as much as we’d love our own children if we had them. And then we keep going. And suddenly, we have something beautiful sitting in front of our faces, something we’d actually be proud to publish and share with the masses. And then we remember why.
And so the cycle continues.
And then, sometimes, you’re a twelve year old Jennifer Laughran, working in a bookstore, making five dollars a day and accepting every book she could get her tiny hands on as payment. Yet, here she is, a successful publishing agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency, searching for YA writers to inspire this generation’s young people just as “Sweet Valley High” inspired her some decades earlier.
David Henry Sterry’s interview with Laughran is short and sweet, but it gives us a solid insight into the world of publishing – after all, brevity is the soul of wit. The Book Doctors ask Laughran what are the top three mistakes she sees in publishing submissions. Without beating around the bush, Laughran responds: “Impatience, Poor Presentation, General Cluelessness.”
Don’t be generally clueless. Don’t submit your work if it’s sloppy. Don’t be impatient with the process. Publishing is hard work, this we all know a little too well. Sometimes, we just have to keep banging our head against the desk and walking away. One of these days, we’ll come back to the desk, and things will begin to fall into place.