Saturday, August 24, 2013
Things I Know About Being Published (A very short list)
Okay, so I still don't consider myself a proper writer. I know, right? Even though I've got ...what are we up to now...six books published under a pseudonym, two more under contract, one under submission, and another few waiting in the wings.
Crazy, right? But sometimes I feel like having a pseudonym allows me to step back from the writer identity, and just be the same old me...the one who still can't blog without typos (thanks, MC!), who worries more about possum invasions than plot conflicts, and the one who is currently wearing mismatched socks.
Yep, my secret identity is a writer, but I'm just me...
But I have learned a few things, so I'm going to share those with you.
1. Your book is not perfect.
You know that, right? Of course you do. In fact, you're so worried about that, that you're afraid to submit it anywhere. But guess what? They're not looking for perfect. They're looking for a product they can sell. Sometimes, you need to take a breath, take a step back, and just send it out into the world, warts and all. It's better than you think it is.
2. People are going to hate your book.
You know this too, but it still doesn't mean that first "OMG I WANT TO BURN THIS WITH FIRE AND CONSIGN THE ASHES TO HELL" review won't take you by surprise. The trick is, don't dwell on it. I mean, you're going to. You're going to ignore all those other wonderful five-glowing-star reviews, just because Betty from Idaho hated your book. She knows the truth. She knows you're a worthless fraud. She can see into your soul.
But you have to move on. You have to get some perspective. Don't let Betty and your own writer-neuroses bring you down. Because, holy shit! You wrote and published a book! You're awesome!
(And, it should go without saying, do not respond to Betty's review. Not ever.)
3. Write another book. Immediately.
Don't sit back and wait for the accolades. Don't obsessively check for the reviews and Goodreads statuses of the people reading your book. It's out there, it's done, and you need to keep moving. You're only on the first rung of a very long ladder here. Keep writing. And, the more you write, the easier it gets.
The first MS I ever submitted (it was rejected, BTW) took me years. Literally years. Because it had to be perfect. Because I was scared. Because if I didn't submit it, it didn't have to fail. I could be a wannabe writer, which is much better than being a rejected writer. Well, guess what? Sooner or later you have to take that leap, and it might as well be sooner. My MS failed anyway, but I could have spent those years writing other stuff. I wish I had.
4. Turn off the Internet once in a while.
Don't get bogged down in blogging and social networking. You need an online presence, sure, but don't be that author that everyone hates. The one who sticks their nose into other peoples' conversations about the massacre of civilians in Syria with: "Wow. Talk about conflict, right? Hey, speaking of conflict, you guys should check out my book." No. Just no. Because if everything is a sales pitch, nobody will want to interact with you.
And beware of the Great Time Suck. This is where you look up from your computer, it's a week later, and you've spent all that time on Twitter instead of on your novel. Find a balance that works for you, but remember you're supposed to be going somewhere, not just treading water.
Do you know what's better for sales than social networking? Writing more books.
5. Your book is not your baby.
I really hate this analogy. Okay, I'm not a mother and have no intention of ever being one, but I'm pretty sure my books are not my babies. For starters, I'm allowed to have favourites. Also, if I neglected babies the way I neglect my books, I'd be in prison right about now.
But I'm willing to compromise on this. My books are my baby birds. I hatch them, wait until they're big enough, then kick them the hell out of the nest and hope they can fly. And then I'm done.
Because, whenever I hear "Oh, but my book is my baby!" I also hear "Warning. Incoming Author Meltdown. Retreat. Retreat." Don't be that author. Don't obsess about the book that's already out. You've done your job. Let it go. Obsess about the next one you're already writing instead.
So there. That's what I've learned about being published.
Anything to add to the list, you guys?