As some of you might know, I’m a gamer. I’m a hardcore World of Warcraft fanatic and have been playing since right after beta. I’ve belonged to the same guild for over 20 years, across multiple MMO (Massively multiplayer online) platforms.
I’ve decided that the publishing industry is like gaming. Not a compassion you’d expect to hear, but let me explain.
As an up-and-coming writer (new adventurer) you set out to hone your craft (level up) and tackle your first manuscript (your first quests).
Work hard and stay the course, and you land yourself an agent (level-up and gain access to a new area).
Keep writing, work with your agent to polish that manuscript, and earn a publishing contract (keep leveling until you earn that coveted legendary piece of armor)
You’ve made it (won the game), right?
Just like in MMOs, there’s no real endgame. Your work (the world) is constantly evolving. There’s always a new skill to learn, a class to take to level-up. A few simple things and you’ll be skipping down the path to success (pillaging the enemy and amassing hoards of gold)
Always raid with a party – Just like in gaming, the road is smoother if you don’t go it alone. Find your tribe. You’ll need them to navigate rocky terrain (setbacks, bad reviews, rejections) and provide a trusted ear for battle strategy (plotting, venting, ect!).
Remember there’s no in-game hack to get you to the finish line – in gaming, we call it an exploit. A trick to fool the game and advance without putting in the work. (Hopping on twitter and calling for a “follower trade” to amass thousands of followers isn’t going to earn you a platform. Editors and agency are looking for quality, not quantity. You can’t possibly have meaningful exchanges with that many people! Make real connections, interact, and grow your following through hard work and putting your all into creating your masterpiece—your book!)
There might be twenty different servers, but there’s still just one internet. Watch what you say/do – I remember badly behaved players from the first years I started playing WoW, and to this day, those player’s names still live on, their reputations still soiled. Wiping a raid ALA Leeroy Jenkins, to kiting a boss into a low-level town and watching all the AFK people get smushed, the internet remembers. (Remember to think before you speak/act. The same author’s book who you talked trash about for four days on twitter might one day be someone you want a blurb from. Trust me, they’re going to remember—it’s happened to me, and while I didn’t hold an actual grudge, I didn’t go out of my way to help the individual. Remember to treat everyone with kindness and respect. The publishing industry is surprisingly small, and people talk.)
And that’s all from me this month. Happy writing (gaming)! May your words flow free and your plots remain untangled (may your gold be plentiful and your rares abundant).