I have been stuck in the Blog-bog and Twitter-verse for two days, reading all I can about writing. I found a few great blogs by writers and agents, then found them on Twitter and followed their thoughts and links. I have learned a great deal, but there is so much more to learn.
My most recent reading was of the "Konrath Effect" on HuffingtonPost.com. I have to agree that the ability to publish at the instant an author wishes may not be for the best. Although I have not read any of Konrath's books, he seems to have the talent to back up his self-publishing drive. I look back at my first book, Crossroads, and I wince. Even after multiple edits, it still needs a lot of work! That's not to say that I am not proud of finishing it and rewriting it for years with an editor before finally throwing in the towel, but it SHOULD NOT BE PUBLISHED. Not in it's current state. Maybe not ever.
Then I read a post on Rachelle Gardner's blog - Rants and Ramblings - about reputations. Although her point had more to do with the long-term reasoning behind an agent's acceptance or rejection of an author's work, the comments led me to think about what my reputation would have been if I had self-published a less-than-ideal work. At the time, I remember thinking that the Crossroads story was strong, the characters were great, and there wasn't anything standing between me and a six-figure publishing deal but finding the right person to read it. Boy, was I wrong. And if I had gone ahead with self-publishing, the reputation I might have at this point would not be the one I desire. It would be that of an amateur who needs to work harder to tell a good story and tell it well.
I am glad that I tried and failed. I took three years off from writing anything other than emails, got more involved with my kids' activities, learned how to knit, and filled my time with other projects. But the desire to tell the stories that fill my mind never went away, and it slowly became so overpowering that once I started writing, I reached my goal of completing my first screenplay in one month. (Thanks again, Script Frenzy!) Now I know that writing is something I need to keep doing. But I do not need instant success. In fact, I dread it. I'd prefer to write a few more Crossroads and keep learning along the way than have my next project be the one to send me to the top of the best-sellers list. A few more failures and I just may have the reputation, and the book, that I want.