Wednesday, February 3, 2010

But A Quick Note...

Lately...I've been noticing an influx of over-confident writers.

I feel sometimes like the world is split between raincloud I WILL NEVER SELL writers and writers who are convinced they are J.K. Rowling. If you are of the first camp, please drink some tea and enjoy this blog post but realize it is not for you.

For the rest of you...

Here are some things you should maybe consider/deal with.

--The manuscript you are writing and pouring your life into and dreaming about and crying over? It might not sell.
--EVEN IF your characters are really hot.
--EVEN IF you have a great query letter.
--EVEN IF it truly is a very, very good manuscript.
--EVEN IF you can see a place for it in the current market.
--EVEN IF your best friend is Jodi Piccoult.
--EVEN IF you already have an agent.
--Even if your agent loves it.
--Even if you've sold fifteen fucking books before.
--Even if "but it's me and I sold"--no no no, EVEN YOU.

--If you are loudly overconfident, you will piss people off.
--EVEN IF you are attractive.
--EVEN IF (and maybe especially if) you turn out to be correct.

--If your book sells, it likely will not be for a lot of money.
--EVEN IF someone else sold a book for a lot of money.
--Even if every writer you know sold for SO MUCH MONEY.
--They didn't.

Don't get depressed. Accept it and deal with it and consider shutting your mouth next time you tell someone how sure you are going to sell.


--I got an agent.
--That book I got an agent with? It was not the first book we put on sub.
--I sold a book.
--That book that I got the agent with? It didn't sell.
--Even after I'd sold BREAK. Didn't matter.
--I left my agent, and got a shiiiiiitload of rejects looking for a new one.
--Even though I'd sold BREAK
--Even though I'm really hot.

In conclusion, there are exactly three things it is ALWAYS safe to be.

Just something to think about.


Anonymous said...


Great advice, Hannah.

Anonymous said...

hahaha I'm actually sitting here with fresh tea right now.

And I enjoyed the blog post.

seeyouupside said...

I really like this advice. I try not to be overconfident because I have an agent waiting for my work (she was interested in it when it wasn't even done yet)... But I also try to be realistic and realize the agent might hate it. I also realize I might never get an agent-or it might take a long time - or I might hate the agent I get or hopefully love them.

Publishing is a business. YO.

Thanks for this article Hannah :-)

hannah moskowitz said...

It's cool to be confident. quiet about it so everyone won't hate you. LOL

Anonymous said...

I should have just got up, got my tea, and NOT READ THIS BLOG POST as it was obviously not for me of the what-if-it-never-ever-ever-happens camp.

hannah moskowitz said...

it is DEFINITELY not for you.

haha, okay, wait a minute.

hannah moskowitz said...

there ya go, tencentnotes, scroll up. that's for you, baby.

Kara said...


Today in one of my English classes this kid was talking to another guy about his future plans and he was like "Yeah I'm just gonna graduate in two years with a BA and hopefully I'll be a bestseller by then."

And he was TOTALLY serious.

Cat Hellisen said...


I'm in the rain-cloud camp. But I think it would be a good idea if we could siphon off some of the offending over-confidence, and then share it out among the woe-is-me crowd. Like some kind of literary wanker drug.

It would be fantastic.

Nadine said...

Great post. I'm in the first camp and often wonder if I'll ever make it, but I'm trying to keep positive thoughts. And sending out more queries! :)

Steve MC said...

Well put. There’s actually studies that prove being overconfident means you’re not seeing things as they are. You think you can do more than you can. Very dangerous in war. And yet, strangely enough, optimists live longer. Go figure.

As someone strongly in the under-confidence camp, I’ve enjoyed the outlooks of other members:

Michelangelo: Painting and sculpture have been my ruin. I would have been better off making matches.

Renoir: I’ve reached the conclusion that I don’t know how to paint or draw.

Mark Twain on Huckleberry Finn: I like it only tolerably well, and may possibly pigeonhole or burn the manuscript when it is done.

Misty Provencher said...

Which one of you beat me to Jodi Piccoult? I had a sleep over planned...with cookies and hair braiding. Bastards.

Ellen Brickley said...

Great post, Hannah, and timed just right. I'd just made tea :)

suzie townsend said...

I love this post. I'm going to direct queriers who claim to be the next Dan Brown/JK Rowling/Stephenie Meyer here :)

Katie Ashley said...

I love this! I couldn't agree more with the overconfident writers. Man, I don't know if I'll ever sell, and yes, you can get me some cheese for my "whine", lol, but I wont' be cocky!

You are made of awesomeness!

Amy Lukavics said...

God, thank you for writing this. Seriously.

hannah moskowitz said...

thank you, suzie & everybody! (suzie gets mentioned special 'cause she CONTROLS MY FATE. i still love you guys lots)

Meghan Ward said...

Hopeful, modest, grateful. Great advice.

Kari Olson said...

Awesome blog post. I admit- I am the overconfident everyone will love him kind! But really, I am going who is gonna buy this? Really? Someone might actually want this? It's just much more fun to be confident... otherwise, I'd never keep writing =P And I can live in my littel pretend world, instead of facing the rejections, for now. =)

ChristaCarol Jones said...

You speak the truth, Hannah. Thanks for reminding us of it. Reality Bites sometimes. And boiling it down to "Hopeful, Modest, & Grateful" . . . yup.

Cate Gardner said...

Ha! But what if I'm really, really, really hot.