No Chickens Allowed

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

I’m going on a little rant here and I hope you’ll come along with me. Are you as tired as I am about hearing how the world is coming to an end?  I’m not talking about the Mayan calendar prediction and 2012.  I’m talking about the publishing world.

It seems like every blog I read these days, each email that comes across some ‘loop’ I subscribe to mourn the fall of this publisher or that publisher. People wring their hands because the book store on the corner is going out of business and the one at the mall is too.  And if you listen to these same bloggers, pre-published writers should chuck their laptops out the window and keep their day jobs. According to these agents and editors ‘in the know’, aspiring authors don’t stand a chance in the Hades of landing a contract because nobody is taking a chance on writers who aren’t established.

If I paid attention to all these agents of doom and editors of Armageddon, I’d never write another word. I’d throw away all my ambition and dreams. Instead, I’ve started tuning them out. I don’t read their blogs and I delete the emails. Not because I’m an ostrich with my head in the sand, but because I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life.

Yes, the publishing world is changing. Yes, times are tough and competition is fierce. But that doesn’t make ‘getting the call’ impossible or improbable, just a little harder. Who’s kidding who? It was never easy in the first place!  If it was easy, everybody and their dog would write for Avon, Harlequin, Silhouette, etc. etc.

We’re living in ‘interesting times’, no doubt about it. As writers, we have to be flexible and open to all kinds of alternative ways of getting published. Those who stay focused and maintain a positive attitude will make their dreams come true.

It’s not the Chicken Little outlook that gets you where you want to go. It’s the Little Engine That Could momentum that drives you up and over life’s humps and bumps.

Don’t chicken out.


10 thoughts on “No Chickens Allowed

  1. Lynn,

    What a terrific pep talk! I don’t know that I’ve ever been a Chicken Little cause I strive to be the Little Engine That Could type of person. Don’t always succeed on either front, but I do keep chugging along. It’s friends like you that help to keep me motivated.


    • Thanks, Linda.

      You know you keep me inspired. You enter and place in contests! More power to ya. I need to do more of that. Gotta get on it and get something entered.

  2. I am usually a very non-observant person. I don’t know the s#*! is about to hit the fan until everyone else is holding their noses and covered in plastic wrap and I’m still looking up at the sky.

    I kinda need the chicken little’s to give me a reality check. Yeah, I knew the business was hard but I didn’t ever consider going the self-pubbed route or promotion of myself and a site as a way to sell books until I realized that my dream of holding my book in paperback form may be lost if all publishers go digital.

    I’m never a pessimist, I just like to restructure my dreams so they fit into a semi-realistic fantasy. A dream’s not so fantastic if it’s highly improbable, damn nigh impossible. Being published isn’t impossible but being published by Dorchester and receiving a multi-million dollar deal is, at this point.

    The sky is falling, so I’ll get out my hard hat and stop being so chicken.

    • Ren,

      I don’t ignore the Chicken Littles of the world, but I don’t let their negativity turn me away from my dreams. I actually think this is a very exciting time to be a writer. The barriers to entry for pre-pubbed authors are coming down. There are so many different ways an author’s voice can heard today. Technology makes it possible for them to find their audience in ways that weren’t there decades ago. It doesn’t make being a writer easier, since we still have to craft a great story. But in my opinion it is still one of the most rewarding professions.

    • Barbara Ann,

      Thanks so much! Glad I could bring some light into your day. Hope you’ll keep coming back. We’d love to hear more from you.

  3. Sandee,

    I think for some, writing is a second job. I know for me it is. In some ways it’s like selling Tupperware or Avon. We can never lose sight that writing is both an art and a business. I have a lot of respect for those writers who manage both successfully.

    And I like your idea about eliminating the competition by outliving older authors. Gotta find me my own picture of Dorian Grey!

    Thanks so much for your vote of confidence in Learn to Fly.

  4. Not only that, Lynn, but the way the ‘Net is going, if worse comes to worse, a newbie author could literally self-publish and build a big enough readership to make the big boys sit up and notice. There’s no telling how things will shake out, but the savvy writer knows that the best thing for any career is to keep on writing and adapting to the market.

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