I wrote a few entries recently about blogging - blog identity, blog bios, blog pictures . . . and I wrote about how, when I started this blog in earnest so I could give my two cents on the Harlequin Horizons debacle, I decided to be honest. I would admit that sometimes, the combination of full-time day job, social life and home commitments means I don't get to write for a week. I would admit that I have been known to book dental appointments to get away from editing.
For a newbie writer, unpublished, unagented and frankly not even querying, this wasn't a huge decision. I did consider what it would be like if an agent spotted my blog and thought I was a waster. But in the end, I decided to be honest about my writing life, because everyone has difficult patches and I'd rather an agent knew that I was committed even through the difficult bits.
Then there is Natalie Whipple. Natalie is agented and has been on submission for a long time. She has watched people get agents and book deals in the time she has been on submission. And she writes openly, honestly and helpfully about how much this has sucked for her.
Writers at my stage need to believe in the fairy tales. We read about the six-figure deals, the massive ebook profits, the awards, because it's what we need. That's what makes us sit down in front of the computer after a long day at work. It makes us edit a book that a part of us believes no one will ever see. It makes it easier to switch off the phone and forget that our friends are out having fun without us while we're taking dictation from the voices in our heads.
But we need to know the truth too. We need to know six-figure deals are rare. We need to know that a celebratory drink with friends when you get an agent is fine, but it's worth keeping it low-key because an agent doesn't equal a deal, and you don't want to deal with everyone you know constantly asking when your unsold book is coming out.
So thanks to all professional, agented, published and contracted authors out there who have the guts to tell it like it is. You're making the road easier for everyone who follows you.