Daily Archives: December 4, 2010

Newbie to ?–crossing the great divide

The responses I received to Thursday’s post were wonderful and eye-opening.  They brought up a bunch of questions in my mind.  Namely, what is on the other side of newbie?

A while back, one of my dear writer friends was surprised to learn that I had joined Agent Query Connect at the same time she had.  Her reason, “You just seemed to know so much, like you’d been doing it forever.”

To clarify, I had.  Not on AQ, but in general, I had been writing, researching and learning the business for what felt like forever.

There’s a lot to know about the craft of writing and the business of publishing.  What I know can fill a thimble.  And yet, it is substantially more than I knew when I started out–back in the day when the mail was still delivered by snails and submission guidelines were requested via a SASE. 

The technology explosion has changed the landscape of the writing arena tremendously and writers are coming out of the closet much sooner and with less experience/understanding/practical education/practice under their belts than when I emerged. 

I had long ago “just finished” my first novel.  I had already read countless renditions of how to write a query and practiced 1001 times in 1001 ways to learn what worked and why.  I’d attended conferences, been critiqued by agents and editors and had worked over my manuscripts to the point of nausea.  I had also long since ceased believing that an agent would care if I had a dog, four kids and lived in a rambler.  In short, all those rookie myths and mistakes had been debunked and made years before I knew AQ existed.

Yes, I am agented (July 2010), and yes I have published (magazines, newsletters, articles, short stories, poetry, columns, etc).  Yet I would still consider myself a newbie in a lot of ways. 

  • I have not published a novel.
  • I have not published consistently to even consider myself a freelance writer.
  • I have not published in the juvenile lit arena, which is the bench mark I hold myself to as being able to cross the great divide.

So what am I? 

And how do we, as writers, know when we move from newbie-ism to the next level?  What is that next level and what, if any, new responsibilities does that hold? 

Inquiring minds want to know!