Okay, hopefully I’m figuring out how to post blogs okay. 🙂 I just wanted first of all to thank Nancy Greene for letting me know on MySpace about the Writers Cafe and inviting me here, and then for inviting me to this wonderful authors’ blog. I also have a very active blog on my MySpace site, www.myspace.com/richmondwest.
As for any advice I’d give, for whatever that’s worth, to any fellow writers out there: never give up! I’ve found that self-publishing is very difficult, because nobody knows who you are. I sat at one book fair and didn’t sell a single book, and at another sold only two. So I’ve decided to shop my third book, Witch Hunt, around to agents. I think that, to finally make any kind of sales and any kind of living at this, that has to be my next step. Of course, it’s not about money with me. I feel like writing is my calling and my passion and I really don’t expect much, if any, money from it. But I do want at least some people to pick up my books, so that I’m not just doing it in vain. 🙂
Since I’ve figured out you really can’t make a living writing novels, unless you get really fortunate and get an agent and all, I’ve decided to study again for the GRE and apply to several Master of Fine Arts programs in creative writing. I figure I’ll apply to the top ten programs, and then to all the programs in the south (I’m from Alabama). I don’t think such programs can improve your writing so much as help you get contacts and give you the qualifications to teach. (After all, to improve your writing, you can do that far more cheaply by picking up Stephen King’s book On Writing: A Memoir for the Craft, Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, and joining a critique group. You will learn just as much and not have to pay so much for grad school, I think.) But to teach creative writing at a university, an MFA would be required. I teach philosophy, but only part-time, and I didn’t finish my Ph.D. to teach in it full-time. I’d love to teach creative writing so I could have insurance and a steady career on the side along with my passion for writing, so I figure that an MFA will be my next step. Gotta get that GRE score up first, though. 🙂
I think Witch Hunt will probably have broader appeal than the philosophical sci fi and fantasy I’ve written so far, so I’m hopeful it will attract an agent when I’m finished with it. I’m hoping to be through with it soon–I’m finishing up some Wittgenstein research for it (My main character is a philosophy professor, and I thought it appropriate that he make some comments about Wittgenstein.). I’ve already finished research on Wicca and on “hostile environment” sexual “harassment,” which the book will touch on.
I guess I’ve rambled, but all that’s to say that I won’t give up, I will never give up, and I encourage all my writer friends to keep at it. If you know you have the talent and desire, just keep going for it even as you get used to rejection.
Just remember, many great writers, like Nietzsche and Kierkegaard, had a lot of trouble selling their books during their lifetimes. I’d encourage anyone to have another career, like teaching, on the side to fall back on, but to never, ever give up if writing’s your dream. Anyway, that’s my two cents.
I look forward to getting to know others on here.