“Notoriety means a lot in publishing, as it does with just about any industry. What I think is funny is that reviews and critiques, even by agents, are subjective to the person. One person might think a beginning is slow, while another thinks the same ending is just the perfect pace.The advice given to me has always been write what your heart wants, and find the agent that fits it, not the other way around. I guess it depends on if you are writing to write, or writing to be published. I don't think, however, that the two are mutually exclusive.”
You are correct: Writing just to write and writing to be published are not always mutually exclusive. However, there is a fine balance that must be struck between the two for a writer to ultimatley be successful. There are not many writers who can do this overall.
Also, notoriety is not the same in publishing as any other industry. Notoriety in publishing means you already have an audience, something that it might take years to build just writing books. Publishers know and understand the marketing aspect of celebrity and play to it. This leaves the beginning writer at a disadvantage that may never be overcome.
Yes, I agree that a writer should always write what’s in his heart to write, but that has nothing to do with beginnings, transitions, character, point of view, title choices, setting, description, voice, dialogue, interior monologue, climax or endings. These choices and techniques have nothing to do with heart, but have to do with writing skill. There is only one person a writer has to please, and that’s his reader. Readers demand that novels begin a certain way, usually with change or with something happening in your character’s life. Today’s readers were raised on television where you have, at the most, a very short time to tell a story. Readers will not wait for a writer to fall into his pace, nor will they wallow in the fluidity of your language just for the sake of it as they might have years ago. If you don’t give them something right up front that lets them know that this is going to be an exciting story and well worth their time and investment, your readers will resent it and will reject you.
I heard a writer the other day arrogantly proclaim, “If it wasn’t for writers, publishers would have to close their doors.” Well, this may be partly true. However, when readers stop reading what writers write…need I say more?
Writing for publication can be writing from your heart, but it is always writing for your audience no matter what, and it is imperative to remember that.