That's how it is for me, too. But it shouldn't be all about your name on the hardcover. So I asked a few middle-grade authors:
What do you miss most from when you were an unpublished, unagented writer?
From Kate Messner, author of Sugar and Ice and The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z.:
The thing I miss about being an unpublished, unagented writer is that feeling of anticipation, I think...the knowing that that first phone call would come if I worked hard enough and persevered. It’s funny because I think that waiting can be the most frustrating thing about that stage in one’s writing life, too — but I also know that you only get one first book, and hearing the news of that first sale on the phone is something I’d love to go back and experience again. It’s the moment when a dream comes true.
From Jonathan Auxier (remember him, guys? we reviewed his book a while back), author of Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes:
That is a wonderful (and complex!) question. I don't miss anything about being un-agented, save the complete ignorance of just how hard it is to get something you've written out into the world. However, there is one thing I miss about being unpublished: before I had a book in the world, I had no real sense of my audience. Audience was an abstract idea that couldn't be pinned down and had little say in my storytelling. With the publication of Peter Nimble, however, I've suddenly found myself writing stories with specific readers in mind. It's hard to type a sentence without thinking: I wonder what Librarian X or Critic Y will think of this? While such thoughts may be helpful during revisions, they can be crippling to the early stages of the creative process.
From Stephen Messer (remember him, too? we interviewed him), author of The Death of Yorik Mortwell and Windblowne:
This is a tough one. You work so hard to get to the point where you're a published author that your first instinct is to say you don't miss anything about the period where you were working on the seemingly hopeless task of writing this novel that may not be any good and that no one would ever want to read (you imagine). But that wouldn't be true. I do miss writing purely for the act of creation, without any thought to sales or business or placement in chain bookstores or any of the other things you can't control but still find yourself thinking about once you've got a contract. There's a freedom in knowing you can write whatever you like, taking all the time you like, and simply run wild without consideration of the bottom line. But as far as problems go, this is still one I'll gladly accept!
Anticipation, lack of an audience, and no creative boundaries... those all sound like excellent reasons to me for appreciating your time as an unpublished writer. What do you think?