What "Should" You Do That You're NOT Doing?
A friend recently read a section of my memoir in progress where I wrote about my search for a literary agent for my first novel, FINGERPRINTS.
"I had no idea it was so hard to get published," she said. "Well, why would you know? You're not a writer," I said. That got me thinking that I should probably write about it.
Writing books is not the hard part. Getting published is the hard part. The most common stat I see is that only 1% of books written get published by a traditional publisher. And you can't just email Harper Collins and say, "Hey! Check out my book." You have to get a literary agent first and getting a literary agent is hard.
I pitched FINGERPRINTS to agents for a year before I went to a Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) conference in New York in hopes of getting an agent's attention. If I hadn't had the money to pay for the conference, airfare, and hotel or the ability to take time off work, I never would have met the agent who represented FINGERPRINTS.
Once I got the agent, she spent two years pitching traditional publishing houses. FINGERPRINTS got 26 rejections from traditional publishers. So, I put it aside and started writing CHOOSING TALLY.
Years later, I decided to independently publish them and to my surprise, people started buying them and continue to do so every month. (THANK YOU!) Now that I'm writing a memoir, I want to find a new agent and experience traditional publishing. I keep seeing tweets from agents that read, "I want to see memoirs from writers with large followings."
So, in addition to writing a fantastic book, they want me to have 100,000 followers? AWESOME.
I let that get in my head. I let a fear of not having a Kardashian-sized social media following make me do something I "should" do but didn't want to.
I decided to resurrect The Question of the Day, a blog I created in 2008 where I asked a question every day for 1,000 days straight. At the time, it was fun and playful. Now, it seemed like the perfect way to build a following on medium.
Medium not only has 85 to 100 million members, but once a following is established, writers get paid on medium. So, building a following there could satisfy agents and my bank account.
So, I posted a question on medium and then posted the link on Facebook. Facebook friends replied that people who weren't medium members couldn't respond on medium, so I decided to post the questions here too.
And the next day, I woke up mad at myself. This blog on my website is about my digital nomad travel journey, my journey healing chronic Lyme disease, writing, and a whole lot of things, but it's not about asking a question every day because I should have a large following in order to attract an agent.
I begrudgingly wrote a question a day for a few days. I felt trapped since I'd started and not finishing seemed lame but then I thought, "Who cares? If you don't want to do it, don't do it."
So, I'm not doing it. What "should" you do that you're not doing?