Follow the Yellow Brick Road, and Make a Left: The Journey through Publication

By Julie Kazimer

Recently a friend complained of how long it took him to finally have success as an author. In his view, success meant a third book release in a year, signing with an agent, and good sales numbers and lots of press attention. Not a bad way to define success at all. I wish I had such complaints.

And I do.

You do too.

Being a writer takes a lot of hard work, many hours of butt in the chair, many words tossed in the trash bin, many ups and downs, rejections and a few acceptances, as well as the belief, even in the face of clear signs to the contrary, you can and will succeed.

Some call this belief delusion, and eventually quit. Others, like us, keep plugging away, so deluded in our desire that one day something magically happens.  We complain. We complain about taking two years to find an agent. We complain about the two years it takes for our publisher to release our book. We complain about sales numbers. Reviews. And that questionable wart we got from that booksigning in Boulder.

It’s not that I am ungrateful for what I have, instead, I am looking at my yellow brick road, and seeing only more yellow. Well it’s time to stop viewing my journey as to how long it’s taken, or how much longer the path might be. But rather what I have accomplished thus far. I hope you will join me, or at least, not laugh directly in my face.

I started and/or finished writing a book
80%of people in the US feel like they should write a book. Most never do.
My critique group loves my book
Weird since they normally make me cry.
I’ve sent a query to a real live agent (versus those undead ones).
Over 15,000 writers query an agent a year.
I signed with an agent.
And she didn’t ask for my blood or a thousand dollars in return.
I uploaded a short story collection to amazon.
The first year it sold well over 20 copies. I thought about retiring, but decided, in the end, I liked eating more than cat food. This year it sold over 1200, retirement still not an option, but I have hopes for 2075.
I received my 1027th rejection.
I’ve received my 1027th rejection!!!!! Whoo Hoo! Two more and I win a book deal!
An editor wants my book
And he’s not imaginary. I swear it.
I got a review in PW (a bad one, but still…)
Very few new releases get a PW review, good or bad, so why not embrace it?
Amazon ranked me at 50,000.
Ha! I’m better than 450,000 other authors! (Not really, but why burst my bubble?)
I gave a workshop on publishing.
And I didn’t throw up on the crowd.
I sold 5 books at my last signing
Damn straight. The average is only 4. Suck it, statistics.
I am part of RMFW or plan to join and/or belong to another writerly organization.
Joining a writers group increases others’ chances of publishing success by 68%, mine by 100% since I sold my first book at the 2010 Colorado Gold Conference.

So which brick are you on your path to publication? Share with us your last accomplishment, your last brick in your journey, be it writing a thousand words or selling a million books.

And thanks for playing along.

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kazimerJ.A. (Julie) Kazimer lives in Denver, CO. Novels include CURSES! A F***ed-Up Fairy Tale, Holy Socks & Dirtier Demons, Dope Sick: A Love Story and FROGGY STYLE  as well as the forthcoming romance from Coffeetown Press, The Assassin’s Heart, and the upcoming mystery series, Deadly Ever After from Kensington Books. J.A. spent years spilling drinks as a bartender and then stalked people while working as a private investigator.

Learn more at www.jakazimer.com or on her writerly talk blog More Than a Little F***ed Up. She can also be found (way too much of the time) on Twitter as @jakazimer and on Facebook as Julie Kazimer.

18 thoughts on “Follow the Yellow Brick Road, and Make a Left: The Journey through Publication

  1. Patricia Stoltey

    Good morning, Julie. I think you were very brave to count your rejections. When I first started writing, I kept the paper rejections in their respective story’s file. After a while, I started shredding them instead. All the folders were getting too fat to fit in the file drawer.

    Reply
    1. Julie Kazimer

      I bet shredding them was the best feeling ever. I started just as email became the way to communicate an agent’s dislike of my work, so any paper ones I got I trashed right away, but I still have the emails, and read them when I am feeling particularly sadistic or like my life is going too well. Thanks Pat for the chance to blog with you all.

      Reply
  2. W. J. Howard

    I slipped and fell in a pile of rainbow-colored doodoo left in the middle of the yellow brick road by a horse of a different color when my first publisher went out of business. I had to go back the the munchkin village (rewrite my book back to its original format), and am still picking the smelly stuff out of my shoes. Starting over is not fun!

    Reply
    1. Julie Kazimer

      Awful. I am so sorry. But what’s great is, you are starting over. Too many writers would’ve quit since they don’t love the smell of desperation and horse poo us tough writers thrive on. Not that I matter, but I think you’re awesome.

      Reply
    1. Julie Kazimer

      An inspiration huh? Think I can get a cult following?

      You’re always so supportive. I appreciate it greatly.

      Reply
  3. Julie Luek

    Oh Julie, I love posts like this that remind me I’m in the company of such fine people and writers, and that I’m not walking this road alone. What an uplifting post this was. I just want to shout, “Amen Sister!”

    Reply
    1. Julie Kazimer

      Thanks Julie. It’s so easy to feel alone as a writer unless you have pets, then you feel alone and used for your ability to open the treat box.

      Reply
  4. Lisa Brown Roberts

    Great post, Julie! I love your perspective. I often battle with imaginary demons telling me I haven’t accomplished enough by a certain age. But I’m working very hard on focusing on living in the present and celebrating the journey. Writers are the best people in the world…thanks for sharing so honestly.

    Reply
    1. Julie Kazimer

      Hi Lisa, 90 is a good age to start beating yourself up at. You’re frail by then and it can’t hurt as much. Thanks for visiting and for the nice words.

      Reply
  5. Dean K Miller

    Yeah…I’ll follow you, if for nothing than picking up scraps of knowledge/and-or/food along the way. Heck, the view can’t be that bad, right?!

    Reply
    1. Julie Kazimer

      Being this short, it’s hard to see the view, but glad to have you join my cult, Dean. I’ll make you VP.

      Reply
  6. Merit Clark

    Well, I did write 1,000 words today which I now know puts me ahead of 80% of the people who wanted to but didn’t! Seriously, fun article and I’ll follow you too. Laughing is better than crying, which is what I do most of the time.

    Reply

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