Is Publication the Goal?

When someone starts a project, they usually have a goal in mind. When a writer starts writing, they usually do, too. As with everything in life, goals can change or be postponed. There’s nothing wrong with that. You just need to be able to identify your goal and accept when it needs to change.

There are a lot of possible end goals for a writer:

  • To finish
  • Start a blog or website
  • Self-publish a book
  • Traditionally publish
  • Create a collection
  • Print for posterity
  • Win a contest
  • The list goes on, etc.

Probably the most typical goal is publication, whether it be traditional or otherwise. But what does it take to publish (traditionally)?

  1. Finish
  2. Edit the snot out of it
  3. Get as much objective feedback as possible
  4. Enter the query trenches to find an agent
  5. Sign with an agent
  6. Edit some more with input from your agent
  7. Wait while your agent goes on submission
  8. Sign with a publisher (hopefully)
  9. Edit some more
  10. Wait awhile longer (around 2 years), negotiate, feedback, etc.
  11. Approve for publication
  12. Advertising, marketing, and campaigns (yes, you have to help with that)
  13. Launch the book
  14. Keep up with marketing, publisher demands, and readers
  15. Write another book

That’s a lot to do after you’ve written the book. And none of it is guaranteed. Publication is a bit of a gamble, and even a lot of “best-sellers” can’t afford to quit their day jobs to write full-time. I don’t tell you all of this to be a downer, I just want to give you the information you need to make a realistic goal for yourself.

Reaching a book launch takes a lot of time, and publishers don’t usually want a one book wonder. They want consistently great books from their authors. And a lot of times, they want them quickly. Because readers want them quickly. Like, every year or two. Do you have time for that along with everything else in your life? That’s something only you can decide.


For me, it’s not the right time. I have this blog, I’m a musician, and I need to make some big life decisions. I love writing, but getting some life experience is more important to me that publication right now. So, for me, publication has been placed gently aside until the right time comes. I’m still writing articles and crafting stories, but that’s enough for the present.

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