Monday, August 13, 2018

The Bottom End of a Publishing Career

by Peter Leavell @peterleavell

I labored to create a writing career.

As I climbed the ladder of writing success, the view above was surprisingly uninspiring—someone’s backside.

I let go of the rungs and found another ladder. After climbing a few steps, I found another posterior—different, but still another fleshy part a person uses to sit.


I tried an author's ladder whom I admire, and while I climbed rather high, the view before reaching my dream was still the same—the tail end of another writer.

While I was getting good at climbing ladders and following others, I was getting tired of rumps.

I took a step back and viewed the writing world from a distance.

The ladder of success wasn’t a ladder at all. It was a jungle gym with a different way to the top for every person.

For everyone who has left an impression on the publishing industry or will contribute, there is a path designed specifically for them. And you have one, too. One you must discover and climb. 

Every person’s publishing story is different.

There is difference between learning from another person’s path and following another person’s path.

Know thyself. Know what success is for you. Know your strengths. Know your weaknesses. Know the market. Know where you might fit in by using your strengths.

The map for your writing career is yours alone. Share your knowledge, but if you see someone staring at your hinder, encourage them to find their own way. They will have their own work to do, their own conversations with agents and acquisition editors, their own way of seeing the world.

You are unique with a voice that’s only yours. Your book will be inimitable, as will your story to publication. Don’t look for and climb ladders. Find the bars that best fit you, climb onto the first rung, and hold on for dear life!

What is your publishing journey? Where are you at on your ladder?

Tweetable! The map for your writing career is yours alone.
Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history and currently enrolled in the University's English Lit Graduate program, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing's Best award for First-Time Author. A novelist, blogger, teacher, ghostwriter, jogger, biker, husband and father, Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. Learn more about Peter's books, research, and family adventures at


  1. It's encouraging that we each have our own paths. Sort of shuts down that comparison thing. We can learn from others and celebrate our own journey. Thanks for posting, Peter!

    1. Great point, about learning from others, Annette! Thanks!

  2. Wow! You shared a great visual, Peter! Love this: "The ladder of success wasn’t a ladder at all. It was a jungle gym with a different way to the top for every person."

    So true! We all need to learn from others, but then find our own paths.

  3. Very well said! Not everyone's journey will be the same. That's what makes it so exciting! Great post.

  4. such great encouragement, Peter, thank you! some days i feel the "why isn't my writing like so-n-so's?" angst. but you are so right (write) - my writing journey never will be like "so-n-so" or anybody else's!

  5. Replies
    1. I suppose an entire book can be written of every author's journey...thanks Kellie!

  6. Peter, well-said. Unfortunately, most authors figure that "If it worked for them, it will work for me." Our writing is like a golf swing--different for everyone (just watch pro golf on TV). Do whatever works...for you.

  7. This post reminds me of the story I heard years ago about a young mole trying to find his way out of the hilh in the group so he could see the light and sky, but all he could see was Mole...uh, rumps.

    Great post, Peter. Very creative and true.

  8. Loved this! You created quite the visual and made it so easy to see why following someone else’s path is not the way to go.

    1. Now that I reread it, you're right, Terri, it is quite the visual. I can't unsee it


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