You’re a writer! Isn’t it awesome! You have this unbelievable power to turn words into ideas and ideas into stories and then stories into amazing fandoms! Not yet? Oh, it’s coming! You will because you are so gosh darn talented!
Yes, you can put words together as ideas and you can sculpt ideas into stories. But I hate to break it to you, sweetheart, just because you are a writer, doesn’t mean you’re great. It doesn’t even mean you’re good.
Do you guys remember William Hung? He was a singer, and by that I mean he sang. But that didn’t make him special, worthy of applause or certainly not Simon Cowell’s attention.
Sadly, there are plenty of writers out there who could be the literary equivalent of William Hung. Don’t believe me? I’ve got some research. Grab a tissue. This could be painful.
Top 10, I mean EIGHT Reasons Why You Might Not Be A Special Snowflake
1. Self Publishing is a world wide phenomena. This intimidating infographic by Bookwhirl.com shows how e-publishing has made everyone a writer.
2. Writer and editor Kristen Lamb explains the real odds of you becoming a famous writer.
3. This forum answers the question: just how many books are for sale on Amazon.com? The answer? Over 12 million. To put that in perspective, 12 million is how many people live in Greece. Twelve million is how many people live in Pennsylvania. Saying, “I’m special because I have a book for sale on Amazon is like saying, I’m special because I live in Pennsylvania. ” No offense to any Keystone Staters out there. Besides the cool people live in Massachusetts.
4. Agent Rachelle Gardner says in a 2010 blog post, “I think there are way, way more people writing books than the market can ever support.” And this was back in 2010, people. She also explains how persistence could pay off, but the odds are still stacked very much against you.
5. The incomparable Chuck Wendig just comes out and says the reason that your book may not be published is because ” YOU’RE ALLERGIC TO FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS (AKA YOU SUFFER FROM “THE SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE” CONUNDRUM)” Oh, you definitely need to read his whole list of why your book will not be published. He also says in another post, “As I write this sentence, 50,000 more books will be released into the world like a herd of stampeding cats.” You really can’t beat his honesty and colorful descriptions about the hard truths about publishing.
6. Don’t want to take Chuck’s word for it, you can see what the far less, ahem, angry Michael Hyatt who not only understands the frustrations of a beginning writer, but actually gives excellent advice for a newbie who just needs to be pointed in the right direction.
7. According to this Vox article, over 400,000 people participated in Nanowrimo last year. Me included. That means that there are now 400,000 new (but not necessarily completed and certainly not necessarily good) stories out there that will need attention (or deletion if we’re lucky.)
8. And if that weren’t enough, a very famous author, David McCullough, spoke at a high school commencement speech and basically confirmed everything I just said.
If you are a writer you need to be optimistic and hopeful and willing to do whatever it takes to put out an excellent book, but you also need to be aware of current publishing reality. This is not a field for the lazy or the impatient or the proud. Talent is great, but persistence and hard work is better. And there really is such a thing as freakish good luck. I know from experience it favors the prepared.
You aren’t special. But then again, only you can make yourself happy. If you have to pursue something that makes you unique, that should be enough to last you a lifetime.