Want to be an Author?
Scott Fitzgerald be successful in today’s publishing world?
Being an author is a
tough job. OK, maybe not as daunting as the career track those Deadliest Catch folks are on – admittedly, I found myself reaching for
the Dramamine more than once watching those crabbing boats being tossed like
toys – or Mike Rowe’s gig when he does things like testing shark suits or
mucking out sewers on Dirty Jobs.
converting thoughts to printed words in order to tell a coherent story that’s
of interest to readers, and then convincing others your efforts are important
and well-written enough to publish and promote, well, there are all kinds of
adversities mixed up in that endeavor.
had a number of difficult jobs over the years. I used to be a maid, on my hands
and knees cleaning other people’s bathrooms. I was a baseball umpire for 25
years where I was, without question, the most disliked person on the field
pretty much every time I stepped on the diamond. As a sportscaster, I was on
live television about 2000 times, where, when you make a mistake, there are
myriad people who delight in pointing out your errors.
labors with jobs that didn’t do much toward promoting positive
self-esteem, I was definitely not prepared for the rigors of being an author.
I’ve written six books: two rest in a drawer, two are published, one will
be shortly, and one is a work in progress. Since I began writing 25 years ago,
I have been rejected by agents, publishers, editors, and reviewers too many
times to count. I’m pretty sure my no-thanks numbers have edged up over the one
thousand mark. In fact, I’ve been snubbed so often that I sometimes find myself
strangely delighted when I receive a rejection letter that’s, well, kind. A positive comment contained therein might tempt
me to tears. (I know I’m not the only one.)
aspiring authors face a different reality than those of the past. The advent of
the personal computer and the Internet have paved the way for a huge
release of creativity, that, depending on your point of view, is either
fabulous or horrifying. On the positive end, anyone can write, self-publish,
and post their book on Amazon. It’s estimated that somewhere between 600,000
and one million books are published in the U.S. alone each year, probably half
of which are self-published. The other side of the equation is that without the
gatekeepers – agents, editors, publishers – finding your gem in that the
massive pile of prose is problematic: the proverbial needle in a haystack.
Feeling down yet? All I
can say is don’t give into despair. Here’s what I’ve learned from the authors
I’ve become acquainted with, my fellow travelers on this detour-filled journey.
We are a tough bunch. I have not yet met an author who’s said, “I quit! I can’t
take it anymore!” Perhaps that’s why I found a bit of unintended humor at the
expense of one of America’s most famous writers: F. Scott Fitzgerald. I
recently began watching Z: The Beginning of Everything, a
biographical Amazon series based on the life of Zelda Fitzgerald, the
writer’s wife and muse. In one of the early scenes, F. Scott opens a letter
from a publisher. His book is rejected. And F. Scott, who up until that point
was dashing and strong and optimistic, disintegrates into a despondent pile of
mush and goes completely off the rails, drunk, depressed, needing Zelda to give
him strength. While I know my reaction was not what the show’s writers intended,
I couldn’t help it. I felt like laughing. I wanted to yell at F. Scott to pick
himself up. Get over it! Move on! Try again!
And then, I wondered
whether the famed writer of The Great Gatsby would
have survived the complexities of today’s publishing world. And what about
Hemingway? Twain? Faulkner? Steinbeck? How might these giants of the industry
have navigated the choppy waters we face today?
they would have struggled, just like we do.
So, my fellow authors,
take heart! Be strong. Be proud. The fact that you’ve even finished writing a
book puts you in rarified air. You will survive, if you don’t take rejection
personally – Yes, I know it’s hard – and if you have a sense of humor.
Allow me to give you a brief intro to my latest women’s fiction novel for your reading pleasure.
The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician…and uncovers more than she bargained for.
In 1939, archeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate bead work, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine hundred years earlier, was a magician.
Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.
Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archaeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.
Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.
When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.