Longshot: Jim Butcher’s Road to Publishing
by Ellen Buikema
Jim Butcher, author of the Dresden Files series, the Codex Alera series, and the new Cinder Spires series, is one of my favorite authors. I enjoy his humor, character development, and the worlds he weaves.
Jim took on the nickname Longshot when he made a decision in the 1990s to become a published author, realizing that very few go on to make a living as writers of novels.
The first Harry Dresden book was written for a class. He sent it out to agents and publishers, receiving rejections from the vaguely encouraging to the downright insulting. He persisted anyway, writing and rewriting.
His secret is to keep going; think of rejection as just part of the day.
He started attending conferences, tracking down those people with whom he wanted to do business. One agent who had rejected Jim Butcher on paper took him on as a client after meeting him. Jim suggests being polite, friendly, and well informed. Pay attention to agent and editor guidelines. Read them carefully. Know who produces your kind of work, find them, and tell them why you want to work with them.
It takes a lot of time and effort to improve your writing quality. Then more time to learn the business end and readers’ interests to give yourself a holistic picture of the road to publishing.
Mr. Butcher suggests acting like a professional in order to be treated as one. And never give up.
Ellen Buikema is a writer and former teacher. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, she received her M.Ed. specializing in Early Childhood. She has extensive post-graduate studies in special education from Northeastern Illinois University. Ellen writes short stories, poetry, adult non-fiction and children’s fiction, sprinkling humor everywhere possible. Find her at EllenBuikema.com, on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and ItMattersRadio.com for a podcast interview.