Mark Terry

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fear & Arrogance


July 29, 2008
If all goes according to plan (we can always hope), I will complete my nonfiction book proposal today. Then I will start trying to find an agent to market it (my agent does not handle nonfiction).

I'm sort of tense about this. I make a living writing nonfiction. I've written and published literally hundreds of magazine pieces, probably close to a hundred on topics related to the proposal. I'm seriously qualified to write this book. I think the material I've written to-date, about 50 pages, is excellent. It's informative, interesting, well-written, and entertaining. I think it takes an approach to scientific material (it's about genetics and medicine) that more writers should take. I think it's great, in other words. (There's the arrogance).

And yet, I do understand how capricious publishing can be. I think this probably stands a better chance of getting picked up than my novels, just because it's nonfiction. But I'm nervous about this. Maybe I feel like there's a lot riding on its success, I don't know.

Aahhh, well, if you've seen the movie "Bull Durham" (picture above) you probably remember a scene later in the movie when Nuke (Tim Robbins) is being sent up to the major leagues and Crash (Kevin Costner) tells him, "You have to play this game with fear and arrogance."

I know exactly what he was talking about and it applies to writing, too.

Of course, Nuke says, "Got it. Fear and ignorance."

That helps, too, actually. 

Cheers,
Mark Terry

12 Comments:

Blogger spyscribbler said...

Hah! That's funny. You're right, too. Ignorance can be a blessing if you don't have the arrogance. :-)

6:41 AM  
Blogger Stephen Parrish said...

If you think it's great, so will someone else. Nice post.

6:46 AM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Best of luck with it, Mark!

7:32 AM  
Blogger Zoe Winters said...

If no one takes it but you're still in love with it, you can find a way to sell it yourself. If cash flow is an issue, you can sell it as an ebook at first since ebooks sell much better when they're information products.

Then when you have the financing to go to print, there are several books like anything by Marilyn and Tom Ross who are the gods of self publishing, or Peter Bowman has a great book too called: "The well fed self publisher"

I know this route isn't for everyone, but putting your own work out there is much easier for nonfiction than for fiction to find your audience. Just know you've got options should agents and editors not bite and you still know you have something worth getting out there.

I know the risk is too great for a lot of people, but just know you always do have that option.

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

Good move. Now you won't have to compete with that fiction writing kid of yours.

Seriously, they say nonfiction is easier to sell and sells more. So you can end up with a nonfiction bestseller then they'll let you publish some novels to keep you happy.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Eric,
From your lips to God's ears...

10:25 AM  
Blogger kitty said...

Didn't he also play the game wearing women's panties?

...

1:29 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Kitty
--garters, actually.

Also, you know, breathing through his eyelids. :) (like the Galapagos lizards, or so she told him).

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