1. Drew78
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    Drew78 Member

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    Is a Writing Career Path Exactly like Any Other?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Drew78, Nov 27, 2011.

    Hello, it’s been a while since I’ve been on any forums. I’ve been back to writing again, and I’m really enjoying it. A few of my short stories have recently been published, and I’m very excited to finally say I’m a published writer. I’ve also written two novels, but they are not published.

    So my question for the published writers more experienced than I am is this: Is a career in writing, while seemingly impossible or at least improbably, actually much like any other career path?

    For example, some of my short stories have been published by literary journals that do not pay. Perhaps now I can use those publishing credits to get more work published. Eventually after being published a dozen or so times, perhaps I can get something published at some journals that pay token fees. Then after a few times of doing that, I can try for journals that pay substantial amounts. (By “substantial amounts” I mean a few hundred dollars.) Then, perhaps agents and publishers would be more likely to consider my work. After having some success with a small publisher, perhaps larger ones would consider my work.

    This is how most career paths work. A new employee fresh out of school begins his work in the mail room and retires as a department manager, vice president, or executive. Starting out as an executive, though, is rare.

    So my question is whether or not I’m on the right track here. I never really liked writing short stories until I started seeing them as a way of getting publishing credits. (I actually enjoy writing them now.) What is your view on the career path of a writer? While some may be able to jump right to being a successful novelist overnight, I would think that most of us mere mortals might do better following a more traditional path and career plan. What is your view?

    Drew
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Publishing short stories is a great way to start out. Just remember that it's a lot better to submit to paying magazines than non-paying ones. So submit to the pro rate markets first and work your way down. There's no reason why anyone should sell a story/poem for less than it's worth.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with thirdwind. There is no reason to place work in non-paying journals prior to going after pro markets, and having had work in non-paying markets won't mean a thing to the pro-rate editor who is reviewing you work later (in fact, some have suggested to me to not even mention non-paying credits).
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, you should never mention non-paying credits unless they're highly respected literary journals that 'pay' in copies instead of cash...

    and the advice given above is worth taking, in re only submitting to paying venues, rather than wasting time/energy and your work on freebies...
     
  5. Drew78
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    Drew78 Member

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    Interesting, I've never realized that until now. I guess I've always thought paying venues would never consider a new writer. So they would? That's wonderful. I'm going to give that a shot and see what comes of it.

    Drew
     
  6. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's the quality of the current work being considered that carries more weight than your previous publishing credits.

    Sure, there are exceptions--like if you're a regular NYTimes Best Seller and you submit an 'average' piece to a market. The name draw would possibly be more important than the actual story, some would argue.
     
  7. Nicholas C.
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    Nicholas C. Active Member

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    Having been a musician for most of my life, I see striking similarities between it and and writing. The way I approach the creative process in writing is much the same as how I approach recording music. And though I don't have much experience in being published, it seems like the process, and likelihood, of making a living through getting your fiction published is not much different than having your music put out by a record company.
     
  8. Devrokon
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    Devrokon Senior Member

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    I think it's wide open. It's unlike any other career path. You can start by publishing a book, a play, a short story, online, or anything else. It doesn't matter how you get your feet wet, as long as you're in. I think there are some similarities between this and other jobs but largely I consider it a career path of its own.
     

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