The Secret they never tell you in MFA Creative Writing School

They tell creative writers that there are two parts of writing: The writing part, and the publishing part. Creative writing schools mostly focus on the writing part. Business schools might teach a “How to run a publishing business” class or some such thing. Or teach people how to make good money as publishers. The skill called “proofreading” isn’t a creative writing skill and is usually taught in undergrad or taught as a journalism class. This is not a creative skill, but pretty much busywork, but it pays good money if you have a good eye for detail and don’t mind doing busywork. (You also need good eyesight to do it, such as being easily able to spot a double period or easily able to see the difference between a comma and a period, or see an accented i instead of a dotted i, which frankly, isn’t very easy for me these days.)

There’s one thing they don’t even bother to tell writing students. There’s a third part of writing! Yep, a third part they leave out of the writing classes. Selling. After you write, after you publish, you gotta sell. Selling sucks bad. The success, or failure of your writing doesn’t depend jack shit on the quality at all, but how well you sell it.  You can go through writing school, get to be a decent writer, have loads of talent, but if you can’t sell, or you hate to sell, or you particularly suck at it, you’re out of luck.

I know an awful lot of extremely talented writers who weren’t told this bit and ended up with books and books and books in their basements collecting dust because they were not informed about the sales part. I don’t want to be a salesperson, nor have the money to hire one, so I am starting to resent that I wasn’t told this in the first place.

Feedback and comments welcome!