Why Real Creativity Requires Significant Work, Part 2

In my previous post on this topic, I told the story of publishing my first book. I shared the significant amount of work it required and a number of setbacks that I had to overcome. I used this story as an introduction to the talk I gave on the Re:create Cruise on “The Role of Work in Creativity.”

Writer’s Desk with Notes - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/MiquelMunill, Image #4792809

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/MiquelMunill

In this post, I want to share the essence of my talk, including the common myths that aspiring writers and other creatives have about the creative life. It is what I refer to as “The Romantic View of Creativity.” It includes four assumptions:

  1. The creative life is easy and effortless.
  2. People will beat a path to your door.
  3. People will love you for your art.
  4. You might just get rich—or at least able to make a living.

However, unlike this romantic notion of creativity:

  1. Real creativity involves significant work. In his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the “10,000-Hour Rule.” The basic idea is that success in any field is, to a large extent, the result of practicing a specific task for 10,000 hours—or more. It also applies to creativity.

    Whether you want to be a great author, musician, painter, or comedian, it takes lots of practice. You don’t just suddenly show up and demand to be acknowledged because you think you have talent. It’s not that easy. You must do the hard work of practicing and investing in your craft.

    With respect to writing books—the field I know best—doing the work requires you to:

    • Come up with a great idea
    • Develop a proposal
    • Find an agent
    • Shop the proposal
    • Secure a publishing contract
    • Write the book
    • Process the edits
    • Rewrite the book

    It’s not easy. This all requires significant effort. Contrary to the common myth, great artists, including writers, are incredibly disciplined.

  2. Real creativity requires significant promotion. A few years ago, a famous author told me, “Look, my job is to write the books. Your job is to promote them.” Sadly, this hasn’t been true for at least twenty years. This author was simply out of touch with reality.

    Successful publishing requires that the author both write the book and assist in its promotion. It’s no wonder that the author I referenced is a shadow of his former self. He has almost completely lost his audience. As a publisher, we simply can’t make it work without his cooperation.

    I understand why many authors are uncomfortable promoting their own work. But I think this inclination is misguided. If you have invested the hours creating the work and really believe in it, then wouldn’t you want to get the work out to as many people as possible?

    Today, it is more important than ever to have a “platform.” A few authors can succeed without one, but it is rare. And the time to build a platform is before you need it. The first question we ask at Thomas Nelson is about the book’s content. The second question s about the author’s platform. It’s rare for us to offer a contract to a new author that doesn’t have both.

  3. Real creativity invokes criticism. From a distance, fame looks very attractive. You think the famous among us are endlessly praised and adored. Not so. Anytime your head rises above the crowd, someone is going to take a shot at you.

    As a result, it’s easy to lose perspective. I know. It often happens to me. (Ask my wife.) I can receive one hundred positive blog comments, yet one negative one will throw me into a tizzy. I suddenly think that everyone hates me, and I am ready to quit. (Most authors I know express the same sentiment.)

    You have to distinguish between friends, critics and trolls:

    • Friends love you and are willing to share with you the truth, even if it hurts a little bit.
    • Critics don’t have anything personal against you; they simply disagree with you.
    • Trolls are spoiling for a fight. They attack you because something is wrong with their heart. My best advice is to ignore them. If you engage them, it only strengthens their resolve.
  4. Real creativity can be monetized, but it requires deliberate action. Whenever someone tells me, “It’s not about the money,” I know one thing for sure: it’s all about the money. For some reason, Christians often have an uneasy relationship with money.

    However, the Bible has a lot to say about money. One important verse for creatives is this: “A laborer is worthy of his hire” (1 Timothy 5:18). We should not feel guilty about charging for our work—and even maximizing our earnings. This is simply good stewardship (assuming it is not motivated by greed).

    When you put a price on something, you create value. Art that is offered freely without charge is often disregarded. In other words, if you, as the artist, don’t think it is worth anything, why should I? This is why I don’t think giving your work away for free is good for you or for recipient. If you believe in your work, charge for it.

If you are a true creative, the work won’t scare you. Embrace it. There really aren’t any shortcuts, despite what you may hear. The only thing standing between you and your dream is hard work and persistence.

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  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    I just wrote a letter to my Senator requesting that the 10,000-hour rule be reduced to 100 hours max. Ten-thousand hours simply isn’t fair toward the less persistent among us. The American Dream must be equally available to all, myself included. The only thing standing between you and your dream is hard work and persistence.Exactly, and I will never allow anything to stand between me and my dream. There is no place in my life for hard work and persistence. And yes, I should stop giving away my work for free and start charging for my tweets. Do you happen to know of any plug-in that does that? I see no reason to continue sharing by dazzling little aphorisms for free. After all, when taken seriously and done properly, tweeting is work: one must stay within the 140 limit, be clear, and keep ‘em snappy. These little buggers don’t write themselves. So what am I? Friend, critic, or troll? Then, of course, there are the hybrids: fritic, frill, and croll. It’s all very complicated.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      If your senator can sponsor the bill, I will support it!

  • Reece Powell

    The last reply mentioned self publishing. This used to be a no-no, something that was looked down upon. But now it seem more and more to be the thing to do. Would love to know your thoughts on this.

    • Reece Powell

      Sorry, it wasn’t the last reply but an earlier one by Patricia Zell. Michael, you know the biz. What’s your take on self publishing.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        I think I just answered this above. Sorry to be redundant, but I have a post on this. It is called “Should You Consider Self Publishing?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I have expanded on this in a post: “Should You Consider Self Publishing?

      • Reece Powell

        Okay. Sorry. It’s easy to get lost in all the responses.

  • KCMoog

    Thank you for sharing your insights. They are very helpful.

  • http://twitter.com/ScottPostma Scott Postma

    Michael,

    Thank you for the realism. It’s affirming, once again, to know that the hard work is not in vain. When my desire to write became nearly insatiable, I started a blog and started developing my writing by going back to school, doing a lot of reading and a lot of writing, sure I was born to write. When I started, though, I had “The Romantic View” you spoke of. I was sure real writers poured eloquence and meaning out of beautiful fountain pens onto fine linen paper with every stroke of the pen. But everything I wrote modeled Hemingway’s famous quote on first writes–and my rewrite weren’t much better. I had myself believing I had as much potential as a frog on a freeway, that I was just hopping for nothing and would eventually die never seeing the other side. I was not a natural at something I so strongly desired and that was discouraging. I finally realized how much work it really takes, and although I’ve yet to publish anything, I’m working on about 3,000 of my 10,000 hrs. Blessing and thanks again for the affirmation!

    Scott

  • http://www.theanimusproject.com Jamie O’Donoghue

    Mike, great post again, I’m curious about your comment on ‘ignoring trolls.’ While I agree with you, how do you personally translate that over into your blog posts? If a troll were to leave you with a nasty comment, how would you handle it? Delete the comment? Reply once and leave it at that? Appreciate all you do.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      If it’s really nasty, I delete it. If it’s not nasty, then I just ignore it without a reply.

  • Rev. Robert Bryan Anthony

    Mike,

    Very inspiring article and insights to keep us “focused” on what is vital for authorship and professionalism! People tell me constantly that I have a “Story to Tell” and I know that God’s allowed the TESTS in my life so I’ll have a unique TESTimony that will Inspire others to Greatness.

    If I’m an “expert” at anything worth sharing, it’s in adapting and overcoming challenges because…I’m almost TOTALLY BLIND! I create videos, hunt, play golf, softball, and horseshoes, ride a bike, and tackle anything God allows me opportunity to do so.

    2 Cor. 12: 9 & Hebrews 10:35-36 are KEY to my life’s success!

    I LOVE God, people, and LIFE! You’re article reminded me that, since I really do have an inspirational “Story to Tell” of overcoming life’s challenges, that it “requires deliberate action” on my part.

    I pray that God places the right people in my life that will help guide and mentor me to share what He’s done in my life.

    Thank you, Mike!

    Rev. R Bryan Anthony
    http://MeetRBryanAnthony.com

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great testimony. Thanks for sharing it.

    • TNeal

      When you couple “TOTALLY BLIND” with “I create videos, hunt, play golf…” you’ve hooked me. I want to know more. And that’s exactly where you begin your story-the place that arouses curiosity. Great TESTimony!

  • Karl Mealor

    Loved Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers. Another anecdote from the book that I loved:

    Every four years, an international group of educators administers a mathematics and science test to elementary and junior high students around the world. (It’s sometimes referred to as the TIMMS.) When students sit down to take the TIMMS exam, they also have to fill out a lengthy questionnaire. This questionnaire asks about everything from their parents’ background to what their friends are like. It’s a very demanding exercise, so demanding that most students leave ten to twenty of the approximately 120 questions blank.

    Here’s the kicker: if you rank each country by how many questions they answer on the questionaire and compare it to the rankings of the scores on the TIMMS, the rankings are exactly the same!

    In other words, if you want to predict how well a country will do on the math exam, give them a task that measures how hard they are willing to work. It doesn’t even have to be math related. Students who stick with the demanding task are more likely to be successful on the exam.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I had forgotten that anecdote. It is excellent!

    • TNeal

      You’ve made it into my Evernote. Thanks for a great anecdote and adding another book to my reading list.

  • http://joeburnham.com joeburnham

    Thank you for this. I’ve added a reminder to reread it as part of my weekly Sunday night review/prep (something else I got from you). So yeah, that means I’ll be reading it 52 times a year.

  • http://twitter.com/AdamsOrganizing Elise Adams

    So much of what you say here resonates deeply with me. An aspect of this creative/effort-centric process that you didn’t focus on in this article is time. A wonderful Spiritual Father of mine keeps reminding me that building a career or platform that is strong and stable takes time…a lot of time. I’ve discovered since starting down this bumpy, tough-lesson-imbued road that time is a gift, not an obstacle. Admittedly, I haven’t been at this for years and years, yet I am grateful that I am learning these lessons –how to write, grow my business (tribe), promote myself and ever-more-clearly articulate the message I’m meant to deliver– while my platform is small. I believe that the degree that I remain open to the lessons inherent in all this stumbling while my mission/message have a small reach is the degree to which I will be prepared for a bigger audience. If I was impatient to skip over these lessons ‘sudden fame’ wouldn’t be of much long term use to me, or to those I hope to encourage and bless.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Michael, I’m a photographer. In regards to point number 3, I don’t get any criticism for my work. Everyone I show my photos to loves them. That worries me. What advice can you give a creative who wants to push past the wall of average to the land of real creativity, where criticism is inevitable?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Push the boundaries. Try something new, perhaps something that hasn’t been done.

  • http://www.kristyblogs.com/ Kristy K

    The platform part is killing me right now. I have the book (on paper), but no platform for it. I’m attending a writing conference this summer (She Speaks) and have a chance to meet with a publisher to present my proposal. Would you suggest that I wait until I have a platform before I talk to a publisher about my work?

    My poor husband… he thought the hard part was done when I finished the book. I hate to tell him that it’s only just beginning. :)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      No, I think you can move forward by talking to publishers. It would help if you at least have the platform piece under construction.

  • http://twitter.com/MacKinnonChris Chris MacKinnon

    After reading these posts, I have a nagging question. Does a publisher prefer to receive the proposal BEFORE the book has been written? I guess I’ve been under the impression that if you have something to write, write it first and then go after a publisher. Now I’m not so sure.

    Having written but not traditionally published, I wonder if some frustration would be avoided by following that model. At the same time I am wired in a way that I have to get thoughts out so I can move on to the idea I’m supposed to working on. Do you have any suggestions?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It depends. If it is non-fiction, you should submit a proposal and two sample chapters only. Do not go further than that. If it is fiction, you will likely need to complete the entire manuscript. I explain how to handle both in my e-books, Writing a Winning Non-fiction Book Proposal and Writing a Winning Fiction Book Proposal.

  • Francarona

    Dear Michael,
    I subscribe to many daily posts and feeds, but yours is one I always take the time to read. Often I will buy the books of the authors you promote. Your advice has been very helpful to me. Thank you for taking the time to reach out to others.
    Fran Carona

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Fran.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FJRLITL5IEFHDDFURAESLXOOZ4 Jim Whitaker

    Creativity is not my strong suit. In a world where I am torn between logic and linear thinking, I am not real creative on my own. But then I realized that was my narrow view of creativity from the standpoint of art in the literal sense of pictures, sculptures and so forth. It was the book Getting Things Done that opened my eyes to the ability to be creative and how to live a life that will help to tap into that creativity. So it is with this foundation of Getting Things Done that enabled me to have the time to practice the things that help me to be creative in the first place. Whether it is writing a sermon or writing lecture notes for a class that I am teaching, if I don’t have a clear mind, I will not be able to be creative in the least bit. Promotion is a hard part for me. I started my business life with a lot of self promotion and it came to bite me and it took a long time for me to gain proper perspective and humility. So it is very hard for me now to be in a position for any type of promotion. I do what I do because I love it and it is what God has called me to do, so I come to things with an attitude of, “if I do my best and try to honor God in the process, then that is all I need.” Though in the book world, I can certainly understand why you would want to promote, promote, promote. Criticism was a difficult part for me to embrace as well. The key is to have folks that provide criticism with a heart of love. My wife and my pastor are good examples of people who I can talk to and get honest, critical feedback without the fear of being banged over the head with a bat. Thanks for the insight into creativity. This is a good look at the process you use.

  • http://bigcchurch.blogspot.com/ bdillenback

    I have heard the 1o year rule. That to master something it takes 10 years of sticking with it.

    • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

      Yeah, 10 years or 10,000 hours.

  • Brent Trickett

    I especially like point number 3. In China there is a saying “The nail that sticks up gets pounded down”. This is so true especially when you go out on a limb and do something different. This is why real creativity takes courage. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Michael.

    • TNeal

      In Russia, the saying goes “The tallest grass gets cut.”

      I remember a Russian friend saying that architectural creativity meant you included both “red and white bricks.” How novel!

      • Brent Trickett

        I wonder if anyone knows of similar sayings from other regions. I like that one.

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  • http://twitter.com/LauraParkerBlog Laura Parker

    As always, I love the advice given here. I love the reminder that art takes work, creativity takes practice, success takes time.

    I am currently blogging from Thailand, and I especially loved what you wrote about an author’s platform being an important facet of an author’s success, gained and cultivated before book proposals are ever agreed upon. While I’m not sure if a book is in my future, I do think it’s valuable for me to remember that building a following through my blog is prepping the soil for the potential for a published book, in later years.

    It’s so easy for us to want to jump to the World Series early-on without working our way through the sweat and quiet of the Minor Leagues, first.

    • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

      Laura, I checked out your boot, and it looks great! I think that blogging can be a great way to create a platform for yourself.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Thanks to Robert’s reply I was drawn back to your original comment. I loved two things about what you said.

      First of all, your quote…”art takes work, creativity takes practice, success takes time.” It’s now in my Evernote.

      Second, anyone who uses baseball analogies hits a home run in my ballpark. Couldn’t help myself on that one.

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  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    I love this post! I especially resonate with your comments in #4. I’m writing an ebook on leadership. Granted, I still have a lot of work to do; I’ve just managed my outline and have started to expand my ideas into chapters. Maybe I’m getting the cart ahead of the horse here, but I’ve been thinking about whether or not to give away my book on my blog, or charge for it. Since I’m an unknown author, I was leaning towards giving it away… Who would want ot buy something from an unknown? But now I’m reconsidering that idea. Thanks for giving me something to chew on here.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      As you know, I give mine away. But I do so for something I think is more valuable: permission to keep engaging with my readers.

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        True. But you also sell the other books still, correct?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Yes, correct.

  • Anonymous

    As someone interested in writing a book, these posts are very helpful. Thank you for your insight!

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  • http://www.millerbrothersbooks.com The Miller Brothers

    Great article. I’ll be re-tweeting it soon. I do, however, feel compelled to add something on behalf of all those hard-working authors out there. (The ones who often work harder at marketing than they do at writing.)

    It IS the publisher’s job to market you too…don’t be bullied into thinking otherwise. I’m happy with my publisher, but I know far too many authors who are being taken advantage of by publishers who are simply sitting on the sidelines, doing nothing to promote the books. The publisher holds a larger percentage of ownership in the book than the author – they need to act like it.

    Yes, it’s true that the author must participate in the marketing (shame on those who don’t) but I disagree that the primary responsibility to promote an author’s work lies with the author. If that were the case, why would they need to enter into a contract with a publisher in the first place? An author enters into a relationship with their publisher in hopes of gaining a broader audience than they are capable of reaching on their own. And let’s be honest: putting a book in your catalog is not promotion. Authors work far too hard for the few pennies of royalty they will eventually earn on each book sold to invest more time into marketing than their publishers do.

    Affordable printing and broad distribution are no longer an exclusive advantage of publishers. Maybe 20 years ago it was, but times have changed. Quality editing and product PROMOTION is the role of the publishing house today.

    Bottom line: Publishers that don’t promote their authors will cease to attract talent and cease to exist.

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  • http://LiveIntentionally.org Paul Steinbrueck

    Hi Michael, I’ve been thinking about this paragraph from this post all week:

    When you put a price on something, you create value. Art that is offered freely without charge is often disregarded. In other words, if you, as the artist, don’t think it is worth anything, why should I? This is why I don’t think giving your work away for free is good for you or for recipient. If you believe in your work, charge for it.

    You make a great point, but there are some other principles that are in tension with that. This issue of whether to charge for your work or not is one a lot of creatives wrestle with, so I thought would be good to blog about & discuss. I quoted you in it…

    Should writers, musicians, and artists give away digital copies of their work for free? http://ow.ly/4zAmZ

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Interesting. I will have to process this when I get a little more time.

    • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

      Also, something to think about… what about when what you’re working on has value to you other than money (I’m thinking about a giveaway on one’s blog that increases traffic or subscribers). Maybe that’s a form of payment/price?

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Absolutely. Value can take many forms.

  • http://epicwritingblog.blogspot.com Epic Writer

    I loved this post. I suppose watching the instant success of some, many think they can do the same. Thanks for pointing out reality.

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  • Kendrailia

    Thank you for the incredible encouragement!!! God keeps putting people in my path to keep me focused.. you must be one of them because this entry (and part 1) has given me another push in the right direction.

    Peace,
    Time to work. ;)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4PPQY6VDDQG5I7KY7EK6TMHH4E JustinW

    I’ve only started reading your blog this week and I’ve already got two of your posts bookmarked! Please keep the wisdom and advice coming. It’s great to hear it from someone so experienced and so driven. Keep it up! We’re listening!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your encouraging words, Justin!

  • Karl Mealor

    Loved #4. I sometimes struggle with putting a price tag on things that I do or create.

  • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

    I like #3. I think what is holding me back is the fear of criticism.

  • http://creativelycreatingmycreation.wordpress.com Andrea

    Thanks for this post Michael and for sharing your lessons learned.

    Like you if I had known how involved it was to write my memoir I would have easily talked myself out of it. I am in the process of round 2 of my editing and hope to have it published in the near future.

    I’m working hard and putting in long hours because I believe in the product and at first I thought write the book and that’s that. But I recognize that I know my product best and I am the only person that can sell it.—[Brace yourself in this memoir filled with drama, emotional turmoil and an inspiration to never give up! ]

  • Dday

    MH, I have been passing my manuscript around to peers, and I got some interesting feedback yesterday. The first four peers got back to me with corrections, but nothing over-the-top. And then a friend got back to me with corrections in every sentence. The problem is that I don’t know how to assimilate all of the different ideas to know which corrections to make and which ones are overly critical withdrawing my voice. Any thoughts on a book or two I could read on writing well? Secondly, any advice on how to recognize good feedback and overly critical feedback? Thanks!

  • Mafiou_p

    Hi! Good on you for these interesting advices!

    I am a student photographer, and when it gets down to photography I am all about hard work, research and the creative process..

    However I also love drawing and painting, which for me is more a personal task which has for purpose to express inner feelings. I have only done one painting so far and was quite happy with it (although it was a simple portrait for school and not a personal initiative) but every time I think about starting to draw or paint, I get anxious and just can’t do it! Not even the slightest energy to fight back!!

    Why is this happening?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I suggest you read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

  • http://twitter.com/Thumbelina137 Gayle Nicholson

    I’m ready. What now?

  • http://twitter.com/Thumbelina137 Gayle Nicholson

    I’m ready. What now?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Do the work. In fact, read Steven Pressfield’s new book by the same title: Do the Work (Domino Press, 2011).

  • Rabernathy03

    As with most authors who have completed a work, I am proud of my manuscript and hope many will have the opportunity to read. If you are like me, I am sure you completed the manuscript and showed it to your mom or wife-generating (hopefully) positive comments.

    In my first novel, The Walk to Walden Hill, I sat down with an idea an it expanded into a completed Christian novel within a month.  It was almost as if someone else was writing and I had a front row seat.  Being that it was my first stab at writing a book, I had no idea where to send it.

    I came across a link on a site that directed me to Athanatos Christian Ministries where they conduct a writing contest each year for short stories, poetry and novels. Meanwhile, I researched self-publishing and chose to go that route on my inaugural book. So, submitted my manuscript twice–once to Crossbooks Publishing, a division of Lifeway and to the Novel Contest.

    Fist, I recieved a Theological Review from Crossbooks that read (“This is BY FAR THE VERY BEST BOOK I HAVE READ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I could not put it down. In fact, I would go so far to say that Lifeway should be picking this baby up to publish themselves. I would purchase this book for myself, I would give it as a gift to others, I would donate copies to libraries… If I could throw a parade for this book, I would…it is about hope and forgiveness and JESUS and hard lives and real people and redemption and IT IS FANTASTIC!”)

    Now, Im not tooting my own horn or anything…(ok maybe a little)..but thats the kind of thing my mom says. (and my wife on good days). It verified that…”Ok I have a book that someone will enjoy”

    Next, I recieve word that the book won an award with the Novel Contest.  The novel contest prize included a cash prize as well as a publishing contract.

    THE DILEMMA
    I have already paid for the book to be self-published.  The novel contest publisher who has offered a contract is a small publisher who will likely sell less than 1000 books.  I have not accepted a contract yet.

    How do I get the book noticed by the parent publsihing company of Crossbooks without spending the money to find an agent?  I would like to think that it has somewhat proven that it is good enough to at least be read and considered.

    What steps do I need to be taking right now?  Should I fork out the money to have marketed? Should I go with the smaller publisher?  The Crossbooks version will be available to purchase in a few weeks.  I still retain the rights to my book.

    Your thoughts are much appreciated.

    thanks
    R. Abernathy

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You will not get a major publisher to consider it without an agent. Period.

      I would ignore the review from Crossbooks or any self-publisher, including our own, Westbow. Both are selling services. They are not investing anything, so their opinion doesn’t mean much.

      I would start by reading my post, “Advice to First Time Authors.” It provides step-by-step guidance.

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  • 2darlings

    I hope that a post here doesn’t already answer my question, I have not taken the time to read them all….yet.   I am a custom home designer that has a passion for a certain type of novel…so…being a creative person already I sat down about a year ago and began “writing” my novel.  I have absolutely no training or skills in the literary field and have even less of an idea of who to contact to find an editor to work with…I need someone to help me with structure and prose, plus someone to bounce ideas off of.  Do I need an agent?  How do I make contact ,  find publishers who might be interested?  Any assistance will be greatly appreciated. 

  • Dan Snow

    Perhaps I haven’t read far enough yet, but can you give me an example of a ‘platform’?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Probably the easiest thing is just to search my archives (see the search bar in the right-hand sidebar.) You can start here: 3 Benefits to Building Your Own Platform.

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  • http://linda-rosenbaum.blogspot.com Lindar Rosenbaum

    Thanks Michael. I just completed my book and am heading into the marketplace, so read your post about friends, critics and trolls at exactly the right time. I hope you don’t mind that I quoted you in my blog:  linda-rosenbaum.blogspot.com

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    Writers need thick skins. We’re not the only ones of course,
    but shopping a book around for a publislher is tough, and it’s the rare writer
    who doesn’t meet with a stack of rejection notices along the way. So I’m trying
    to toughen up in preparation.

     

    I’ve learned from my book editors that criticism can be
    highly constructive. Yet, I still bristle with hurt sometimes when my book or
    writing is criticized. I’m not sure why since overall, good solid constructive
    criticism has only served to improve my writing. I’ve had to ask myself why then,
    do I sometimes lose perspective.

     

    I found the answer this morning when I read a passage in a
    blog by Michael Hyatt, the Chair of Thomas Nelson Publishers http://michaelhyatt.com/why-real-creativity-requires-significant-work-part-2.html  

     

    “You have to distinguish between friends, critics and
    trolls,”  Hyatt says:

     

        
    * Friends love you and are willing to share with you the truth, even if
    it hurts a little                bit.

        *
    Critics don’t have anything personal against you; they simply disagree with
    you.

        *
    Trolls are spoiling for a fight. They attack you because something is wrong
    with their heart. My best advice is to ignore them. If you engage them, it only
    strengthens their resolve.

     

    Okay friends and critics, sock it to me if you must. Notice
    to all trolls: just stay away, you hear?

  • Steven Romero99

    Mr. Hyatt, could you write the book and then try to interest publishers, or do you have to get the contract first?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I would start by reading my post, “Advice to First Time Authors.” It provides step-by-step guidance.

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  • Precious Miriam

    Great article!!!