Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Next BIG Thing

Everyone is looking for the NEXT BIG THING. If you’ve seen the promotional ads for the new TV show looking for the next big idea in a new restaurant, “America's Next Great Resaurant”, you know what I mean. Who doesn’t want to invent the next pet rock or Rubik’s cube and make millions? You know you wish you were the one to do it. Well, authors are just as guilty. I know I am. We want to be the one to write the next Da Vinci Code, Twilight, or Harry Potter stories. It can be the source of great angst, especially among authors like me who are published with small independent publishers. We want our special stories to be read far and wide. We want people to love them and make them into a movie. We want them to be translated into foreign languages so people overseas will love them too. Is this a crazy pipedream or what?

I’m starting to think it is crazy simply because nobody really knows exactly what the public will respond to. If they did know, those people would already be bizillionaires over and over again. It’s like my husband’s graphic design business...he gets people who want something done like a sign or a logo, but they don’t really know what they want until they see it.

Voila! An epiphany! That’s the problem with writing the next big blockbuster. Nobody knows what they want until they see it.

So we soldier on, toying with different ideas, running them past friends and family to see what they think, and expanding the plot until we finally have a book. We think it is the next best thing since sliced bread and so do our friends!

Next comes the reality check…actually submitting the book to agents and editors. Now you’ve gone and done it! You’ve opened the flood gates and opinions start rolling in from the outside world—the publishing world where even J.K. Rawlings had rejections. Oh, yes. The rejections come. Most of them are vague, like “not for me” or “not what I’m looking for at this time”. But once in a while you can get a rejection that gives an author something to go on. I got one rejection for my latest manuscript where the editor told me that the conflict between the hero and heroine wasn’t strong enough. Now we are getting somewhere! I can make them fight with each other more. Sure, I can do that! But with the glut of authors vying for publishing spots, we often don’t get a second chance to fix the story and resubmit to the same editor. They’ve moved on to the next story, which the editor is hoping will be the next big thing.

So we learn from our mistakes, shore up our broken egos, try our best to fix what is perceived to be wrong, and submit the story to someone else.

And so it goes…


P.S. My manuscript was accepted by Vinspire Publishing. Look for MOONLIGHT AND ILLUSIONS to come out soon. Yippee! Celebrate for a few days and then…

Hmmm…I wonder what the next big blockbuster story idea might be?
If you are interested in seeing what I come up with, you can sign up for my newsletter at http://www.dianewylie.com.


Delaney Diamond said...

The submission process is difficult. You really need to have a thick skin.

I was once told by an editor that she wasn't "sufficiently emotionally engaged." I was sorely disappointed, especially since my critique partners had simply raved about my book :).

In the end, I was just happy she paid me the courtesy of a response, and at least didn't say she absolutely hated it. That means it has potential, right?

I've submitted the manuscript to other publishers (*fingers crossed*). Hopefully someone will fall in love with it.

Renee Vincent said...

Congrats on your new contract!!! And you are so right. We never know what the next best thing will be until the readers find it and latch on!

Great post! (I have to admit, I was wondering where you were going with those "pet rocks." haha

Wishing you all the best!

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Spot on, Diane. I agree with every word you wrote here. It's also good advice for anyone who's been rejected--all of us.
On my bulletin board above my desk I have a rejection of a book by Willaim Faulkner. It says, "...you don;t seem to have a story to tell and I contend that a novel should tell a story and tell it well. Yours does neither."
Of course Willy went on to prove him wrong but it just says anyone can be rejected. And sometimes, maybe an editor wouldn't know the Next Big Thing" if it bit them.
You're so right, Diane, we do need to tweak up our stories and make them the best they can be and, most of all, never give up.
Beautiful post, Diane and I want to congratulate you on your new contract. Your work is amazing.

Adele Dubois said...

I've often wondered how many editors drank themselves into a stupor for rejecting the Harry Potter series.

"The next big thing" becomes "the next big thing" because someone is forward-thinking enough to identify and market it. Unfortunately, most people are simply average, even in power positions.

Congrats on your sale!


Ari Thatcher said...

You really have to go with what you're passionate about, and not worry about being the next big thing. It's the passion in the story that makes it big. Congrats on the release!

Michael said...

Congrats on the contract!

I know what you're saying. We all deal with rejections differently. I keep them in a folder in email to remind me off how many times I've put one of my babies out there.

Then I look at the acceptances and see that a few of the same that were rejected were accepted!

Thats how I deal. Keep subbing!

S.Lira aka Michael M/Rawiya

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the contract, Diane. Great post!

Diane M. Wylie said...

Thanks for all of the kind comments, everyone. Keep on looking for your own personal next big thing!

Teresa K. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teresa K. said...

Congratulations on your contract Diane.
I as a reader can't imagine the process that you and the writers have to go through.

However, I want to say to you and my other writer friends out here, thank you from the bottom of my heart that you do put up with the rejections or the awful remarks about how something is written.

I see it makes you more determined to get it right. And with the determination comes great books. Thank you, Thank you.

Teresa K.
P.S. removed original due to spelling error.

Fiona McGier said...

If you would have told me how big Harry Potter would become after only the first book, I'd have laughed at you...it was almost painfully boring. Much better series from the first book was Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, but he's got more of a "cult audience" thing going...I've seen him speak live and he's hilarious! But so far no movies for his 7 books...
That gives me hope that maybe someday, one of my "babies" will make it big-time. Until then, I'll keep writing them because I enjoy the process. Isn't that an inspirational quote? "Life is not a destination, life is the journey"...for me, the book being done is wonderful, but it's the writing of it that I really enjoy!
Thanks for a thought-provoking posting.

Tina Donahue said...

Major congrats on your sale, Diane!!! :)