Thursday, August 4, 2011

5 Things I Learned When I Got Published...

Me in a submarine...no reason.
It’s the holy grail of writing. Seeing your book in print is every author’s dream. Elusive for so long, what I learned about getting published once it happened came as a surprise.  Here a few things I’d like to share with you.

·         It takes a long time. Not kidding. A long time. I used to think that signing with an agent meant publication was just around the corner. Not so much. It may take a year or more to find a home for your manuscript and then the real waiting begins.

·         The editorial process isn’t as painful as I’d feared. I used to hear horror stories about evil editors with blood-red pens slashing the life out of stories. This couldn’t be further from the truth. They want you to succeed. They want to help you make your book better, tighter, more compelling. Let them.

·         Your proposal informs a lot of what marketing says about your book. This was my biggest surprise. The blurbs and taglines you create all get used both by your agent and the publisher for your media kit. From back cover text to book trailer snippets, your words help to sell your novel, so make sure your proposal is amazing.

·         You have to learn marketing. No matter the size of the publisher from big box to small imprint, you need to educate yourself. How to give great interviews. How to deal with bookstore owners. How to connect with readers. These are all important skills, and you have to teach them to yourself.

·         It’s not the finish line. One book release does not a career make. You have to keep producing for your agent and the publisher. Get on a schedule. Write your ideas down and find the time to keep writing.

Publication is only as wonderful as your outlook. It’s not about numbers or validation. It’s about achieving a dream and sharing your love of storytelling. I’ve learned to keep in mind why I started this crazy journey in the first place.

It’s the love of creating worlds and characters, a passion to tell a riveting tale, and my need to write no matter what.

(Post originally appeared on Purple Knot blog tour.)

11 comments:

Lynda Schab said...

Great post! I hope to have my own list of what I learned when I got published in a few months. I suspect it will look a lot like yours. :-)

DEZMOND said...

great post, Raquel.
Do all the writers have to have an agent or can you just send your work directly to publishers (or does that work only with the small and not the biggest publishing houses)? I'm kinda confused about that with the situation in USA. Here in my country we don't have agents at all. And can publisher "screw" :) you a bit if you don't have an agent?

Merry Farmwr said...

Thanks, Raquel! Good to hear all those things. I've always been terrified of the editing process but now I seek it out. Nice that it's not so scary. :)

Lady Gwen said...

Wow, that doesn't sound too bad (um, except the waiting part). Great advice for when I get there! Thanks and congrats on the release of your book :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's a lot of work - and it keeps going!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Isn't it true? Getting published just brings you a new laundry list of things to do and learn!! Life is certainly not boring. Great post, Roland

Eric W. Trant said...

Plantser, eh. I'm stealing that one! Thanks for the freebie.

Every route to publication -- or lack thereof -- is different. Some hit it big on their first book, some hit it small on their tenth book, some never hit anything on their twentieth book.

The thing is this, and you said it: keep writing!

I read an article I wish I could find regarding how to make money writing. You can only do it with backlogs, backlists.

You need ~other~ books, not just the one you're publishing. You get five books on the market in two years, you'll be making descent money on each book. Combined it can be significant. The author in the article had written 16 books in 4 years and was banking over $500k per year.

That's a lot of work!

I'm not sure where the celebration begins, because like you said, it's not the finish line to get one book published. Death isn't even a finish line for a writer. Crichton's Pirate Latitudes was published after he died.

See? Death can't even make a good writer quit.

Congrats again and again and again, Raquel.


- Eric

Raquel Byrnes said...

Lynda - looking forward to hearing your story.

Dezmond - some small publishers take unagented manuscripts and they are very good to their authors.

Merry - go to hear the editing process has lost its sting for you. :)

Alex - I hear ya! Can't wait for CassaStar's sequel!

Roland - You are like a machine! So many of your books are out there now. Congrats!

Raquel Byrnes said...

Eric - Always a pleasure to have you visit. I'll have to check out that article for sure.

I guess its good that most writers would continue to churn out what's in their heads even if they never got paid for it. Its the will to create, I think, that drives us.

Thank you for your kind words and encouragement!

Gina Blechman said...

Great post. Thanks!

<3 Gina Blechman

L'Aussie said...

Thanks Raquel, a great post. So true.

Denise