Ah, the unpublished. Or, as many declare: the pre-published.
Let’s be honest: it’s difficult sometimes being a writer who is unpublished. You’re slaving away for hours on end on a manuscript or manuscripts that may be the next great sensation or may only be read by a few people. It could be huge, it could be small. It’s an uncertain time, rife with doubts and a need for some validation (anything, please) to quell the “Am I crazies.”
And that’s even before you get to the agent chase, the queries that seem to disappear into the ether or only score a form letter in return. With your name misspelled.
It’s not an easy path. But the most important thing to remember about the unpublished: everyone started there.
Every writer we love started out not knowing whether they had a shot or whether their work would be appreciated. Lots of beloved authors had to write a few manuscripts to get it right, tasted lots of rejection along the way, and made everyone look like idiots when they finally made it. Everyone had to take the same leap of faith to start writing without knowing where it would lead.
So. How can you help the unpublished among us, even if you yourself are unpublished?
Read their work. Give them feedback. Help them get better. If you’ve been around the block a bit, help the lesser experienced learn the “rules” first-timers might not know about, like going easy on non-said dialogue tags and adverbs. They should know them before they break them. Honest, polite, constructive feedback.
But most importantly: give them encouragement. As I said on Monday, everyone thinks they can write a book. The only people who really know how hard it is are the ones who have tried.