Wednesday, May 11, 2011
In searching for links to pin to my blog and website, I sometimes enter a website that feels like something is not quite right. Of course, I listen to my inner voice and vamoose.
So many fear the unknown, but we must trust someone, sometime, somewhere.
By living on this planet of 7 billion human beings, we encounter a large variety of people from poverty-stricken, war-torn, and under-developed nations to the prosperity of civilization. Ignorance breeds prejudice. Prejudice blocks the mind from education. Prejudice is a type of fear where we tag everything according to our limited knowledge of a particular situation.
Lack of trust is a type of prejudice against all apples because of one rotten one. One bad experience or even a lack of experience makes us cautious. However, if we allow fear to rule us, we wouldn’t venture very far from home, much less into the internet where there are so many just waiting to pounce us. To trust means taking a chance, but not to trust at all leaves us locked inside our own fears.
If we don’t trust anyone, anywhere, anytime, then we must ask ourselves if we are trustworthy.
Fear is common among new writers – fear of someone stealing their work, fear of computer virus, fear of ID theft, fear of rejection, and of fear itself.
Below are some pointers to help ease your mind about venturing into unfamiliar territory – the great www.
1. When entering a website, explore the site. Don’t get all jittery and excited about the gold mine you just discovered – it might be fool’s gold. At the same time, consider its quality and don’t be too hasty in discarding it. It may have something real to offer. Think about what you see, read, or feel. Listen to your inner voice, ask around about the site, and Google it if you are not sure. Absolute Write Water Cooler is a great place to throw out a name, a website, or publisher to get a feel of what others have experienced. If one person nay-says, consider it, but if a whole lot of people tell of bad experiences – believe them.
2. Take your time. Test the waters. If you are not confident in exploring around the internet for whatever reason (new at it, uncertain, or just heard too many war stories), try a pseudo-name. When I got my first computer (what a relic – Windows 98 that froze up every other sentence. Try writing a book when you have to save every other word to keep from losing your work!), I was scared for more than one reason. Married to a controlling and violent man was fearful enough, but venturing into the unknown where he couldn’t find me, was absolutely exhilarating! I carefully chose a new name and went bravely across that line into the forbidden, uncharted lands of Cyberspace. Oh, I didn’t run. Each step I took was slow and careful as I explored a new world as someone else. You can learn without leaving breadcrumbs back to you.
3. When you begin querying your novels, take your time (redundant? Sure – but this one is worth repeating many times – take your time), RESEARCH: Google the agent’s name, look them up in sites like AgentQuery, Preditors & Editors; are they a member of AAR or AAA (UK version); what authors do they represent, etc. If a publisher offers you representation without an agent – trust me! That is a RED FLAG! If an agent/publisher charges a fee – again, RED FLAG. Don’t be afraid to explore and learn, but don’t let your dream of being published turn into a nightmare. (Stay away from PublishAmerica as if it has the plague). The websites I have pinned on my blog under the Bulletin board are ones I myself frequent. I am not going to pin something up there just to take up space. These links are here because I like them, have learned from them, and most times am too lazy to hunt them up again later.
Another bit of advice for when you go to an agent’s website – READ their site prior to submitting. Read their submission guidelines, but also take their advice to heart. Even though Andrea Brown Literary Agency declined to represent my novel, I learned a great deal from her website. I followed her links to author’s websites, read their tips on the industry and how they became successful, and ended up finding other sites such as Backspace.
4. Don’t be too happy about someone taking an interest in you or your writing. Professionals sound professional. Uh, right. Even professional con artists. However, that is what writers write for – for others to read. Please remember, though, that not everyone is out to steal your hard work. In fact, when we begin writing, most writers don’t want to do all the editing and rewrites required to bring our best sellers up to par. Trust trustworthy sites. Take your time, but also explore and become familiar with those who are professional enough to care. There are a lot of them out there - honest people trying to make it through this economy just like the rest of us.
5. Take advice to heart, but not to the death of your novel. Advice is just that. I recommend keeping an Advice Log to sort out what you need and what you don’t, and what you may need later after you gain wisdom the hard way.
Sorry for writing a book- blog, but I wanted to share with you the road I have traveled that led me to creating this blogspot. It is a road of hard knocks learned the hard way, and sometimes I had to to wipe the egg off my face because I thought surely I had the next best seller with a movie contract in the works if someone would just READ it. I visit the sites I pin here and want you to trust me. If you find anything wrong or questionable in any of the links pinned to my blog or website, please don’t hesitate to tell me about it. If I don’t know about it, how can I correct it?
Thank you for reading and hope to see you around more often. I’ll leave the light on for you.
Posted by Lucinda Bilya at 6:29 PM