Tuesday, May 1, 2007

THE SECRET key to publication...does it exist?

Everyone is talking about the book and DVD called THE SECRET. What if someone wrote a literary version of the book, unveiling the secrets that unlocked the door for unpublished writers, giving them the combination to guaranteed publication. Think it would be a best seller? I'd buy it! I believe that the same principles that make you a success in daily life could be applied to fiction writing.

The Law of Attraction is the perfect fit for writing novels. Although we believe writing is a solitary pursuit, my experience in the last couple of years says that it isn't. Let's explore this idea by looking at the Three C's and whether they can unlock that secret door to publication!

Contests: You've finished a manuscript. Your mom loves it, your best friend says that it is the best piece of fiction she has read, and your dog sniffs in approval. Now you need feedback from strangers, to test the mettle of the story, discover whether your craft needs work, hone your skills. Send it off to a contest. For a minimal fee, you have the opportunity to have honest feedback by avid readers. Okay, there are times when a judge is unfavorably disposed to your manuscript for personal reasons, but you need someone to toughen you up for reviewers, right? Contests can also offer you the opportunity to get your work in front of editors and agents who normally wouldn't see it. If you final or win contests, it helps with name recognition. And that can only help your plight for publication. After all, people need to see your name at least 24 times to take action (like buying your book), so you need to start sending that message out today. Entering contests can build friendships. I still stay in touch with contest organizers and judges that I've met through contests. A few judges have gone out of their way to mentor me, offer me feedback on my writing, a priceless gift...all resulting from entering contests.

Conferences: The laws of attraction at work. Nothing beats face-to-face contact. Although you can make incredible friends online, meeting someone and interacting with them in a relaxed setting (read drinks at the bar), can make all the difference. I've met many published writers and editors who have taken the time to share ideas and help me learn about the industry. Pitch appointments give you ten minutes of precious time for the undivided attention of an editor or agent. They aren't at their desk, they are focused on what you have to say about your book. E-mails and even phone calls can't replace face time.

Contacts: Here's an important one. Remember that motto, "it's better to give than receive"? It applies when making contacts in the industry. Be sure to send thank you notes whenever possible to judges, editors, and fellow writers. Celebrate your friend's successes like they were your own. Touch base with people. Try to give the personal touch, rather than a form thank you note. Help others whenenever you can. Not only does it make you feel good, you create a strong circle of buddies that will pick you up and dust you off when you receive a rejection, encourage you to keep trying, and celebrate your good news alongside you!

Okay, there are the three C's of success. Now writing a darn good book that editors can't put down can also help, but that's a discussion for another day! :)

I'd love to hear what people think about THE SECRET and how it might apply to writing. Whether you're published or still waiting for THE CALL, maybe you'll be kind enough to share some of your secrets along the way--what helped and what didn't. After all, we need to keep the Laws of Attraction in full force.

Wishing you all success in your pursuits!

KJ

14 comments:

Anna Campbell said...

Kim, fantastic post. I'm not sure I believe in the laws of attraction but then I'm not sure I don't either. I do definitely believe that you have to get all your ducks in a row so that when that lucky lightning bolt strikes you, you're ready to hit the ground running. Hmm, how many cliches can YOU fit in a sentence? You can't control when a publisher will suddenly be interested in a book about a courtesan. You can control whether you've polished that sucker to within an inch of its life and its ready to go. I think all your advice is excellent - contests really kept me going and taught me an awful lot of things that have helped me as I've started my career as a published writer. Hmm, perhaps there I have the subject for my next blog...

Tawny said...

Oooooh.... The Secret.

Let me start by saying the same thing the authors ays... this isn't a new theory. The Law of Attraction has been written about, lectured on and taught for centuries. Actually one of the absolute best books I've ever read on the subject is Wayne Dyer's YOU'LL SEE IT WHEN YOU BELIEVE IT.

So under normal circumstances, I wouldn't have picked up The Secret. But then I sawe it mentioned twice in one evening while doing my weekly blog tour (I simply can't do it daily). I thought, hmmm. Then, the next morning when I was responding to introduction posts made on an online workshop I was giving titled Courting the Muse, someone ELSE asked me about the book. So, being the superstitious sort, I went out and bought it that day.

I didn't like it. The format is hard to read, it doesn't flow easily for me. So I set it aside and read something else (after all, I'd gone to the bookstore, I had lots to choose from LOL). But then I picked it back up. And this time it just clicked. I either got used to the writing style or it started flowing more easily, but I have to say this is a fab book. I'm halfway through and would definitely recommend it. Not as much as Wayne Dyer's *g* but I think the author does a fabulous job of sharing the Law of Attraction and the true energy behind it. One of my favorite parts so far is the theory that just thinking positive thoughts isn't enough... and then it goes on to tell us why.

Good stuff!!

Anna Campbell said...

Actually, Tawny, correct me if I'm wrong, but Wayne Dyer is an Aussie too, isn't he? Like the Secret girl? Wonder why Aussies have cornered the market on positive thinking.

Anna Sugden said...

Great post, Kim. I haven't read the book, but the points you make are all spot on.

Like Anna C, I'm a great believer in the lucky lightning bolt hitting the best-prepared. There's a famous quote about it - can't remember by whom or what it says exactly, but the gist of it is that talent and hard work seem to help luck on its way!

As they say in hockey, you can't help bad ice, bad calls or bad bounces ... but you can help by playing your best game and making the most of every opportunity.

Inara said...

The closest I've come to reading the Secret was a Newsweek article I read a few weeks (months?) ago about it, and I have to say I didn't rush out and buy the book. ;-) Call me a bleeding heart liberal, I just hate the implication that the people who succeed did something "right" and the ones who didn't (think child in poverty, AIDS orphans in Africa, etc.) did something "wrong"--even if only having wrong attitude.

As for the writing Secret--I do agree with what FoAnna, Tawny and Anna said--you can't control everything that happens, but you can prepare, network (as you described in your post) and do everything possible to be ready, including thinking positively, when lightning strikes.

I have no doubt a bad attitude can turn people away from you, and a good attitude can attract them. But is a good attitude enough? Enough to be published? Enough to win millions in the lottery? I wouldn't hold my breath. :-)

-Inara

Caren Crane said...

Okay, I haven't read the book, but as usual I have an opinion. I know, you're all shocked, right? I agree with many comments made, particularly Inara's. "Attraction" is a huge factor in success, as is positive thinking. However, hard work, persistence, diligence, intelligence and application of whatever talent you have are what break you away from the pack. Think of the talented people, smart people, you knew in high school who never went anywhere. Never experienced success. Why didn't they? I guarantee either they didn't try, didn't persevere, or life threw them a curve ball (or series of them) from which they never recovered.

Luck, however, is also a factor. In publishing, it takes time, talent, hard work and all that, plus at least a splash of luck (or "lightning") to get anywhere. I have rarely heard a successful author say they succeeded purely because they wrote great books. It takes more.

Anna Campbell said...

Caren! You? With an opinion??!! I'm too shocked to speak (snork!).

Trish Milburn said...

I have heard so much about this book, so I've requested it from my local library branch. Great post, Kim.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Ah, I guess it's my turn to play devil's advocate. Yes, I know, that's often my position and no comments on positions, please!

Try as a body might to have a positive attitude, after repeated rejections, no matter how positive and encouraging, as well as close calls, keeping a stiff upper lip and seeing the glass as half full can be difficult.

How do you get past this? (Yeah, I'm straddling the fence.)By associating with people who've been successful, people who have a positive attitude about your writing and getting the negatives out of sight. Jayne Ann Krentz says to throw a negative review or a negative rejection out of the house. Do not dwell on them.

Having lunch once or twice a month with these positive people, having them as CP's and on private loops can do mountains to make you feel better.

So I guess I'll be making another trip to the bookstore, (oh darn!) to get this book. Anything to keep looking on the sunny side.

Keira Soleore said...

Hello, Bandits. This is my first post here. Anna Campbell (*wave*) let me in on this secret site. And I'm glad she did. I have not read "The Secret," but I just love books of this kind. Thank you.

Anna wrote, "Wonder why Aussies have cornered the market on positive thinking."

This is the reason why I decided to follow the crumbs Anna left for me here. She simply cracks me up.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Keira, I think you're one of the first 'real' visitors we've had. Welcome to the dark side!

jenny gardiner said...

You hit the nail on the head, Kim. The writing part is just one teensy component of the bigger picture. So now, just go ahead and put that advice in book form, expand it to about 350 pages, and see if you get any bites on it ;-) . No, wait, it's non-fic--you only need to write up a proposal. And non-fic's so much easier to sell...

Sandy Blair said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
heidi ruby miller said...

For me, the secret is perseverance, writing everyday, and sending out at least 100 submissions each year.