Earlier I referenced an article called “Throw in the Towel,” written by screenwriter Terry Rossio, about when to quit writing. Fed up with reading terrible scripts from the slush pile, he suggested in a rather blunt manner that the time to give up chasing the dream is today.
(It’s a good article. I think all writers should face the difficult truths and fears we scribes try to ignore.)
However, I’m now here to offer some counter advice from the world of books. Author, blogger, and former literary agent Nathan Bransford wrote a post this week called (bear with me here) “Be Wary of Anyone Who Tries to Tell You There’s Only One Way to Find Successful Publication”:
There are as many ways to find success writing books as there are books. Anyone who tells you that the only right way is traditional publishing or self-publishing or with an agent or without an agent is probably simply telling you what has worked for them and projecting that experience onto you. Either that or they’re trying to sell you something.
There’s only one person who knows what’s best for your manuscript: You.
In short, DON’T throw in the towel. Want some examples?
- I wrote a screenplay that didn’t win a contest; so I wrote a better one.
- I wrote a poor novel draft, which laid the ground work for a great revision.
- Agents told me that my first novel, while a good idea, would be highly difficult to market. (There’s something in the works on that front; more on that soon.) But I moved ahead anyway to the next, even better book.
My new publishing imprint King’s Men Press is the best example of not throwing in the towel. Instead of letting some published and unpublished short stories sit in my drawer not doing much of anything, I’m going to make them available as both an e-book and a paperback.
The game is over only when you say it’s over.