Welcome back to another #SensualSunday folks. Glad to have you here, and while I have your attention we need to discuss a few things. Facts, not fiction. The blunt, naked, scary truth if you will. Things ’bout to get real up in here.
Whatever are you talking about, Moira?
A little reality check for those who are thinking about writing, currently writing, or ready to submit their first book. This is for everyone, whether you are planning to sub to a publisher or planning to go Indie there are a few things you REALLY need to be realistic about.
A little disclaimer first: This is my point of view and no one else’s. These are strictly things I knew/heard of due to an author friendship before I started out and other things I’ve picked up on my short journey to date as an author. The below may well piss you off – welcome to the real world. If you’re not ready for your delusions to be shattered than this is not the post for you to read, but honestly you should.
It’s easy money.
Stop, just stop right there.
No it is not.
“Easy” money is winning the lotto, or your parents/grandparents handing you a trust fund, and it’s only “easy” for you because it’s been handed to you on a silver platter. Making money writing books takes time, effort, and blood, sweat and quite often tears. And even then there is absolutely no guarantee you’ll be able to live off what you make as an author. In a good quarter starting out you might be able to splurge at the spa for the full package; or afford that new TV you’ve been wanting for a while now. If you’re out looking for “easy” money you are heading into the wrong damn business.
It won’t take much time to whip something up.
Oh dear lord. If you’re one of those authors, or are planning to be – don’t! Already there are too many authors out there that throw together a “book” in a few hours, run it through a spell check (maybe), do a little formatting (maybe) and slap it up on some site to sell. These and the ones that basically use the same story every time but with name, place, and a few event changes to whip out hundreds of “books” a year are fucking the market up for the rest of us. By “the rest of us” I mean those who scrape out an hour here and there each and every day to work on building an unique world and delving deep into the psyche of our characters, who they are and where they are heading. Those who put family, friends, and everything else aside to do what we are passionate about. Those who are so invested in our characters and the story we share that we can barely think about anything else even while forcing ourselves from our desks to tend to real life demands.
But all the good ideas have been taken.
This one makes me see red. Let me tell you something – content can be copyrighted and is, but ideas cannot be (at least not in relation to story telling – yet). You just need to find that creative bone somewhere inside your body to re-imagine a new direction to take that singular idea that caught your eye. What makes an idea unique is you. You are the defining factor in re-envisioning how that idea will shape up and turn into something unique. You could be the reason someone rethinks how they viewed that idea before you wrote your story. But if you can’t be creative enough to see a new direction then maybe writing isn’t for you.
Holding out for that big name, traditional publisher to realize how brilliant you are.
*Head meet desk* My first question to most people when I’ve heard this would be, how many times have you submitted to XXXX Publishing? The answer I’m betting is a big, fat zero. They seem to think that this publisher is just going to show up on their doorstep begging for them to hand over their book for them to publish it. You really need to see a psychiatrist about that delusion disorder you are suffering from.
The other answer I occasionally have read about is that they have, repeatedly. That they keep getting rejected for no good reason. Oh sugar, there’s definitely a reason but you need to read that letter they sent you. Read it, understand where they are coming from and get over that butt-hurt that they don’t see you as the special little princess you seem to still believe yourself to be. They won’t reject your book for “no reason”, there is ALWAYS a reason. Get over how great you think it is/you are and listen to the experts. They’ve been doing this for years which means they know a thing or two, or a hundred about what will and will not sell in their slice of the market. Put aside the pain of that rejection, yes it is hard, and really “listen” to what they are telling you about what you submitted.
The publisher’s going to hate my book…
What if they don’t? No one’s first book is perfect. Believe me, mine most definitely was not. But you have to submit it to know. And a place like Evernight will be straight with you. If it’s not something that fits into their current piece of the market they will tell you and wish you the best of luck. But if they think it will sell within their realm they will give you an R&R, or Revise and Resubmit along with what needs fixing to help you make it work. This also gives you the option to decide if the publisher is right for you.
Personal side note about my first book I submitted: All I thought I knew about the English language had to be tossed out the window. Then again I’m also Canadian and the English I use is different than what’s used in books in North America. That would be American English for those playing along. I’ve had to learn to drop all the U’s from words (colour, flavour, etc) to Americanize them. My very first editor straight up asked me if I was British or Canadian, the U’s having given me away. And while I occasionally let one slip through I have my Word Doc’s set for American English during my spell/grammar check prior to submission to help catch 99% of those automatic spelling’s.
Reviewers can be so mean.
Yup. No argument, but they can also be helpful. If the only thing holding you back from publishing your book is this concern you’ll get a bad review, push that out of your head. Every author receives a craptastic review from time to time. Reviews are the opinion of that one individual, period. Not everyone is going to like what you read. As the saying goes “Pleasing everyone is impossible, but pissing everyone off is a piece of cake.” Good, and bad, reviews will sell your books. In the world we live in you have to be able to take the good with the bad. It ain’t all roses baby.
Next big name in the writing industry.
If you do get there, bravo and good on you for working to achieve that. You’ve obviously worked hard and found a niche that needed to be filled in the industry with your manuscript. Enjoy that feeling but remain humble too.
For the rest of you, let’s be realistic. You’re still sitting on your first book which hasn’t seen the light of day let alone been read by anyone but you. How exactly is it going to catapult you into the spotlight and to the same realm of the big greats? Who, by the way, all write for traditional publishers and have for years for the most part (there are a couple exceptions to this). They also have paid their dues with rejection after rejection after rejection before hitting on that perfect combination that made that publisher sit up and pay attention. That is YEARS of work they’ve put in, and that was only on their first book. All while working a day/night job to pay for all the day-to-day stuff like housing, food and clothing. And then they had to do it again with their second book, and their third book, and so forth.
If you’re not ready to pay your dues than you do need to rethink your plan to become an author. We all must pay our dues in this business because that is what is demanded. We must work harder, write smarter and be more creative than we were last week. Grow, learn and better yourself so that maybe, one day, you will be where you want to be. Even if your name never makes it up on a billboard, side of a bus or on a marquee, make sure that when you are old and gray you are able to look back with pride, pleasure, and a hint of naughtiness to say “I did that.”
I. Did. That!
All right, I think I’ve hit on all the points that irritate the hell out of me about the “I’m going to write a book, and be rich and famous” crowd. This was all brought around by an overheard conversation a couple weeks ago while waiting for my tacos. Mmmm, tacos… Anyway, enough about tacos…uh, wannabes I mean. Share your own point of irritation if you’d like and then get out and enjoy your day.
XO Moira Callahan