“You have to skate with the flow or you’ll cause an accident.”
As life advice goes, this is mostly true. A young girl, without caution, was diving out onto the skating rink facing the wrong direction. Even after I overheard the skate monitors (aka police) explaining how this was dangerous, she continued to enter the rink as if she were a salmon headed upstream to spawn.
This is just one example of how we are taught, at an early age, that going against the tide can be dangerous. Which
of us hasn’t panicked after turning onto a one way street going the wrong way? And even unintentionally, we can find ourselves trying to head back into a stadium (say for a forgotten jacket) after an event is over and the crowd is
moving against us.
For the most part in life I don’t really like to tempt fate. I try to go in the way I am directed and stay with the mainstream. But lately, I have found myself testing this way of doing things. Tens of thousands of people query literary agents every year… so it is difficult to differentiate my work from that of the crowd. But on the periphery (and growing larger) there is a group that has dug their own little canal to bypass that river. It was not easy to get
myself out of that strong current, but once I did I found a new path that, at least so far, has helped me and my writing grow.
This analogy doesn’t entirely hold water (...oh yes, I did:>) since I don’t feel the world of e-pub goes entirely against the flow…. But it certainly cuts across it in a new way. And this can be dangerous.
It’s true… even if a publisher now found my first book, Betting Jessica, and loved it, they probably wouldn’t publish it since they would want all the rights, including the digital ones. Agents and publishers may see me as a rebel and therefore not be willing to take me on for future work. More importantly, without the gatekeepers, I am entirely responsible for the quality of my work…. My reputation is on the line.
When you are roller skating and you are travelling in the same direction as the flow it is like you have a group around you both pushing you forward and holding you up. They are supporting you. But when you cut across that group, you are alone…. And worse, you are in their way and may very well get run over.
I am still waiting for the big mac-truck of writing/publishing that could seriously take me down. I know it is out there…just as that girl knew that a large clump of skaters could trip her up. But…sometimes, even when you know that it is easier and safer to go with the flow, you still have to forge your own path; because there is another saying which also holds true and which every mom knows…
Just because the crowd is doing it, doesn’t mean you should.
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Link here to Betting Jessica on Amazon.com