Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Author Confidence Issues

Here are a few items I discovered in the New York Times archives, from over a hundred years ago, regarding authors who struggled with lack of confidence. Looks like it's an age old problem for many.



This query letter was sent to a publisher in 1908.  Needless to say, it didn't get very far, nor did others get to benefit from the book, "Writing the Great American Novel".

 
In 1903 this manuscript, "The Manuscript in the Red Box",  was received by a New York publisher without an indication of origin. After a successful launch, it was learned that the historical romance was written by John Hamilton. This book was reprinted in 1974.




This New York Times book review from 1897 hails an unknown author's book. Eventually Ellen Glasgow became known to the public. She began writing the novel over 5 years prior to publication. You can read "The Descendant" online.


Two of these authors were published, but we know that this type of anonymity would never be tolerated today. The moral to the story:  Don't forget to put your name on your manuscript, intentionally or otherwise!



Have you ever kept your writing anonymous or hesitated to tell others you are a writer or published author?

12 comments :

  1. Yes, of course, because few people take your dream seriously! My dream that I will someday be a "serious published author" is my precious "baby" and I don't show it to just anybody, lest they peer over their glasses into its face, turn up their nose and scoff, snorting, "Oh, that won't amount to anything!"
    I definitely am an insecure writer at times, but no, actually, I don't hesitate to put my name on my work, once it's written. I just hesitate to send it out to anyone and ask them to publish it!
    Wendy
    Faith's Firm Foundation
    www.wendygunn.net

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  2. Carla,
    I noticed the "Migraine, migraine, go away" in the sidebar and couldn't help but suggest my post today, which talks about symptoms, including migraines (which I have), caused by MSG and salicylate intolerance.
    Hope you're feeling better.
    Blessings,
    Wendy
    Faith's Firm Foundation
    www.wendygunn.net
    (Rapid release extra strength Tylenol helps me.)

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  3. I'm with you, Wendy! "I just hesitate to send it out to anyone and ask them to publish it!" - I'm trying to get over that one, too!

    Thank you, Wendy, I'll check your post on migraines, etc.

    Blessings to you today!

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  4. I guess Im too vain to be anonymous. I like being validated as an author.

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  5. Interesting. Some things are just timeless...I don't often tell people that I am a writer unless they ask. I don't mind my name on my writing, unless the editing department has done a bad job.
    Blessings:)
    Karen

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  6. WOW! If books were still $1.25 I could afford all the books I'd love to buy. Wouldn't help much on the author income side but...

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  7. Love your blog as always, Carla! I'm so glad I can get you while traveling. This is a great topic. I wrote anonymously only once and later regretted that, so I don't use a pen name. Hope you have a fantastic day.

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  8. Great article, Carla. I'm going to tweet about this one!

    I actually published one of my books under a pen name (The Dream Quilt, Waterbrook Press) because of some similar issues.

    Latayne C Scott
    www.latayne.com

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  9. Hi Carla -

    It makes me wonder if they were too shy, nervous, or just plain forgot to sign their names. After working on a book for years, it's something I won't neglect.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  10. Great post! I so enjoyed reading through the little windows into a very different publishing past.
    I tend to get my ms out to beat readers once I get passed page 5. Early feed back and tight writing from the outset, I aim to save time and re-edits.

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  11. Waving to you on your research trip, Susan! Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. I think that at least if we use a pen name that we should include our contact information. Silly authors.

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