Okay – so booted out of the semi-finals, as expected. No biggie. I got a Publishers Weekly review that I consider “good.” Some valid points were made. I agree with some, not all, of them. I do need to go back and edit some more…but then what? Do I self-publish or try to get it seen by some other publishing house?
My issue is this: I believe the writing and story are good and solid. I love my characters and I think the love is intense. I’m just not sure if my story is marketable. It’s a Middle Ages pirate story. I’ve never read anything like it so there aren’t a ton out there. I’m a businesswoman as well as a writer, so I understand bottom lines. I guess what I’m wondering is, if it is not going to make good business sense for a publisher to put my novel out there, why waste the time sending it out to get rejected?
On another subject, what is the difference between an amateur and a professional in the eyes of society? Yes, I know that in their definitions the difference is in making a living off of the thing or not. The word “amateur” has a connotation, though, separate from its literal meaning. When I hear that so-and-so is an amateur songwriter, or an amateur soccer player, I tend to think of it as a polite way of saying that he/she is on the lower-end of the talent scale. Professional = good. Amateur = not good enough.
This drives me crazy because talent should not be measured solely on success. For example, there are a lot of musicians out there (particularly in the pop genre) who are pretty deficient in actual talent. What they have is the look, the marketability. There are a lof ot people functioning in high-pay, high-esteem, high-responsibility positions who got their jobs simply because of who they knew, not because of their talent.
I know several amazing singers who would put any pop icon to shame when it comes to musicianship, but they don’t sing for a living. Does this make them amateur singers? In my own case, I have a degree in photojournalism. That means I had to study photography as much as writing. In and just after college, I had photos and articles published and earned some cash off of it. I veered away from the career for personal reasons. Am I a professional photographer or an amateur? Dozens of people want me to photograph their families or their weddings, but if I want to charge for it there is an outrage. Why? Because I am not a “professional”? I’m just good enough to spend twelve hours of my day driving, shooting, and editing hundreds of photos.
Same gripe for my writing. True, I’ve never had a book published, though I’ve written five of them. But I have had articles published. I’m not saying that my writing doesn’t have room to grow. It surely does and it always will. It should always be improving, but I have to admit that I stare down my nose at being called an amateur. I don’t understand why we have to qualify a skill at all.
Why can’t we just be writers or singers or photographers or athletes? Why not let our talent (or lack thereof) speak for itself?