Okay so let me address the ‘new’ in my title. I`ve been a writer/author since age thirteen, therefore the writing isn`t new to me but the Writing World (and yes it deserves capital letters) is.
When I decided to take my writing seriously, to place it out there in the world and work towards publication, I became a new author in that sense. I had no idea what I was taking on. If I had known then what I know now, I don`t think I`d be so eager to throw down the proverbial gauntlet and say, ‘this is it! I`m taking a chance on my ability and damn the consequences!’ I would probably have been more careful, and probably ended up STILL on the outside looking in *bug eyed*. There`s something about blind faith *lopsided grin*
Anyway, this is a post about what I`ve learned so far since entering this world. And I have to add not all of it is good.
1) Research publishing houses/agents/groups/reviewers/etc…basically all areas where you have to entrust your work into someone else`s hands.
Newbie that I was, I hadn`t done this in the beginning. I went in thinking publishing weren`t ‘shark’ infested waters, unlike the regular ones you get in traditional jobs. Naively I didn`t reckon someone might try to use my work to make a quick buck, rather than actually caring about brand power and the quality of stories they put out there. Yes you guessed right, I`d signed onto a sprung-over-night e-publisher, on the good faith that because they were still small my manuscript would get excellent attention…uh no. It got one Line Edit and absolutely NO Content Edit. I was aghast. Because even as a newbie I realized something was seriously wrong. Which leads me to my second lesson.
2) Go with your Gut!
When you feel like something isn`t right, bail out. Grab your manuscript, your rights or whatever you gave, and with hooker heels in hand, make a run for it! I realized too late that I should`ve gone with my so-called ‘crazy female paranoid’ emotions and just bailed when I noticed the company wasn`t operating the way it should. This doesn`t just count for new e-pubs but for any publishers e.g. ‘the curious case of Ellora`s Cave’. New authors when you smell something fishy then Trust. Your. Nose.
Yes, it might mean making yourself unpopular for asking questions of the publisher, but let me tell you what happens when you don’t. I got a release date a month earlier than the publisher had promised, a cover a week before said published date (on which I hadn`t even agreed on btw) and guess when did I, the signed author, find out all about this? Yes, a week before the release. A WEEK. One Line Edit. No Content Edits. A cover so far removed from the story it made bile rise in my throat. And a release date that hadn`t given me enough time to promote my book. To say I was pissed is an understatement. Lucky for me, the company gave me my rights back after they realized I didn`t respond well to threats. Yes, I might be a newbie author but that didn`t make me a clueless human being *raised eyebrow* Trust your gut!
3) And lastly this…something most authors won`t tell you and I feel like I should mention here…I`ve learned to NOT compare my work/book(s) with other authors work/book(s).
It`s tempting to, especially when you`re a first time published author. You want to check how your book`s doing in comparison to everyone else`s so you`d know whether your thousands Amazon ranking is good or bad. That, you can check when you research how Amazon came to their ranking system, for example, How many books you should sell per day to get a #1 ranking in your category. You don`t need other authors rankings to know how you`re doing, plus you`re so busy checking them out that you forget to write the next book!
And here`s another nugget. As much as the romance community would like to act (for lack of a better word) that it`s not a competition *laughs* believe me, to some romance authors it is. Some grade publishing houses to see just where they are in the ‘publishing world hierarchy’. Are they with the ‘in-crowd’ of publishing houses? Are they rubbing shoulders with the ‘big’ name-making authors? Did they win a romance literary award? Did they win a writing competition? How many? Are their books in real actual honest to God *closes eyes-raises hand* bookstores? Because that`s like the new defining status currency. Do you only have an eBook or has it gone to print? Don`t get sucked into this. Oprah said something profound, something I realized at the age of twenty-one, she can`t be Barbara Walters because there`s already a Barbara Walters. She could only be herself. And the world needed an Oprah, was ready in fact for one.
The same with you and me. I don`t run with the ‘crowd’ who have to place labels and categories on things and people. I decided a long time ago to not compare myself to others in whatever area, because there`ll always be someone who`s doing what you`re doing better than you. Yeah I said it. Especially when you`re trying hard to be like everyone else, attain what everyone else has. Don`t. It`s exhausting. And don`t ‘run’ with those who do. They are exhausting. Celebrate people`s successes with them, be inspired by their stories, but never envy them because you don`t know their journey. What they had to go through to get there.
Someone asked me in January to share thoughts on the publishing world now that my first book`s released (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00R4UACZW/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_vP1bvb1B0D2W4). At the time I honestly didn`t feel much like it. For months I`ve been working on edits and completed two novels back-to-back. All I wanted to do was rest. And then when I did start to think about what I`d say about the publishing world so many topics came to mind, I couldn`t settle on any specific one. I finally (impulsively) sat down today and wrote what I learned rather than what I ‘thought’ because I believe the lessons would serve someone. Of course they`re not the only lessons I`ve learned, but they were the ones that stuck with me the most.
Being a new author doesn`t end for me. I`m still learning, I`m still growing. I`ve made some strides but I don`t think I`ll shed my new author status so easily. I`ll be wearing the ‘new author’ hat for a while *wink*
#HappyWriting #HappyLearning #HappyGrowing