This post is part of a series featuring students at UMD who completed a project interviewing regional authors for David Beard’s Theories of Writing Studies class.
Many writers share a similar fear that takes their focus away from their work and leaves them feeling hopeless, and that is: How will I ever get published? Making an actual career out of writing is a difficult feat. However, there are accomplished writers everywhere willing to give some insight. Playwright and assorted-genre author Roy C. Booth knows precisely what advice to share with writers looking to jumpstart their success.
I just wrote a lot of letters! I’d write letters to my favorite authors and my favorite comic book people and what-not, and get feedback from that and run with it. You’ve got to know this as a business. You are writing for an industry. You are writing not only for an audience in a particular genre or medium, you are writing for an editor who will buy that. That’s where the networking comes in so important. You’ve got to know who you are selling this to. Not just the publisher, but the actual person who will, you know, get you a contract, sign the checks, and what-not.
Booth is no stranger to the occasional failure, though. Even previously published authors still face hardships in the continuation of their journey in publishing.
Usually you find out in six months [from Samuel French], and you get your nice little rejection letter and that’s it.
However, fear of rejection shouldn’t stop you from reaching out to those who could help. Booth is known to pay special attention to the importance of networking and building relationships in the writing world. It is a very critical aspect of many business endeavors, after all – writing being no exception. But he doesn’t want any aspiring writer to lose sight of the smaller accomplishments as well. Smaller accomplishments that are, arguably, just as important as the big ones.
My other point of success is: I am allowed to get up in the morning, do my routine, do what I want to do, the way I want it, anyway I want it, because my writing and my business, helps pay the bills and everything else. I can do what I want to do; and for me, that is success. I’m of the mind that… no matter what I put down [in a day], no matter how glacial, it’s good. Ok? You’re that far ahead. If I can take care of a goal of mine – short, medium, long-term – even better.
So how does Booth overcome the writer’s block so many of us know all too well in order to meet these goals?
Even if you’re doing just a little bit of writing or just editing yourself, to get into that, that’s the only reason why I started doing the haikus before I started writing dialogue because I’d get myself into [the mindset to write]. Just to get past the blank screen and what-not. “I did something already. Ok. Now I can move on to what I need to do today.”
Booth is known for his work across many mediums and genres. As a matter of fact, he is known for his work across 30+ countries. More than 875 productions of his plays have been performed within these countries. This goes to show that his success has no borders – literally. He is limitless.
There is this gal in Latvia who has produced some of my plays and she says the reason why she likes them is because I speak more of a universal tone as an artist, not as an American. Apparently they have an idea of… well, like most English theirs is taught through like Oxford version of English. So, Europeans, I know for a fact, are a little more savvy as to the difference between American literature and Britain literature, and all points in between; and there’s some people who are more comfortable with British literature than Americans, and vice-versa.
Something familiar across all cultures and countries are the genres in which all literature can be categorized in to. For Booth, science fiction and gothic-horror have always appealed to him whether it come in the form of a play, short story, novel, or something else.
I always liked the idea of, [science fiction] is a genre that… you’re not limited. There’s no limitations. You can… memoir writing and nonfiction if you have to but I just like the idea of exploring ideas and taking them impossible places that no one else has before.
…and take them impossible places he has. Roy C. Booth is an impressive professional – sharp as a tack with wit as quick as a whip. Much can be learned from his experience and success. Taking even just a brief peek at his work will assure of this. I do hope even more individuals, especially future writers such as myself, become as inspired by him as I have.
Born in 1965, Roy C. Booth published his first piece of writing at the age of 14. Now a successful playwright and author spanning many genres, Roy has taken what he has learned as a career-writer and used it to uplift those destined to follow. He currently lives in Bemidji, Minnesota with his wife Cynthia as he continues to write.
Tyla Maddock is currently a freshman at the University of Minnesota Duluth pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Writing Studies. Originally from North Dakota, her small-town childhood and big family provides her with great material for storytelling. Her passion mainly lies in writing with empathy and representation.