When Should You Give Up On Getting Published?

By on February 17, 2017
When Should You Give Up On Getting Published? - Writer's Life.org

Every writer knows that getting published is no mean feat, and, in most cases, they have to have nerves of steel and amazing perseverance in order to keep trying.

But is there a point where writers should give up trying to get published? The hours and energy wasted, and the heartache each time you get another rejection sometimes feels rather overwhelming and, let’s face it, a little pointless too.

It would be lovely to have a magic ball we could stare into that would let us know exactly what the future holds. If we knew that if we just kept at it for another year we’d get our big break -of course we would continue! Similarly, knowing with absolute certainty that you will never get a publishing deal would also be helpful, however disheartening, as then you could spend your time doing other creatively fulfilling and rewarding things.

So when should you give up on getting published?

When you aren’t willing to revise your work

Getting published is all about compromise. You may find that you are getting a lot of positive feedback for your work, but yet deals keep collapsing when agents of publishers ask you to change something. If you are too in love with your story or simply want to stay true to yourself and are unwilling to revise and change your manuscript then maybe a traditional publishing deal won’t work for you.

When you don’t have an audience

Are you writing for an audience or are you writing for yourself? If you aren’t able to identify the kind of people who would read your book, and you aren’t willing to write with that audience in mind it is going to be very difficult to sell your work to a publisher. Publishing houses are businesses, they are in it to make money. If you book is commercially unviable you’ll never get anywhere - and you may need to accept this.

When it starts affecting your relationships

Jealousy, depression, obsession - these are all worrying emotions, but one that writers frequently face and if they don’t check themselves they can take over. If you find yourself unable to be happy for any other published writer, if you fall into a pit of depression every time you get rejected and if you become obsessed with getting published so you have no time for anything or anyone else, your relationships will start to suffer, and then you have to ask yourself - is it really worth it?

When it starts affecting your finances

It’s great to throw your heart and soul into your passion, but if you’ve been at it for years, refusing to self-publish in the hope that you will get a traditional publishing deal and make your fortune, it might be time to get a reality check. If you can’t pay your rent and have been living off tins of soup for six months, perhaps you should reevaluate your priorities.

When you realise all the love has gone

If you start to resent writing and yourself, you feel full of blame and anger, and every time you try to write you already feel utterly disheartened, then it is time to shift your focus. Writing can be tough and painful at times but overall it should be something we love, and something that gives us great pleasure. If you are so intent on getting a publishing deal that all the love has gone, maybe it is time to step back.

Giving up getting published doesn’t mean giving up on writing, and there are plenty of other avenues to explore if you still want to see your work in print. Just remember that while it is important to follow your dream if doing so is making you miserable, is it really your dream anymore?

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

About Ty Cohen

One Comment

  1. Don Alesi

    September 1, 2017 at 6:55 am

    For me, I decided early on that I wanted my memoir to sound as if I was having a three hour conversation with the reader. I wasn’t willing to compromise my grammar to please a traditional publisher. All I hoped for was to break even on my small investment. I have more than succeeded.

    My reviews have been very positive except for people who have degrees in in English Literature. My only comment to them was that it was not written for them but for the average person who was interested in Cemetery work.

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