Thursday, June 18, 2015

Something we don't talk about: publishing is more business than dreaming

Hey writers, you know that dream you have? You know the one. It's that one where you sell your book and it magically goes from manuscript to book and everyone buys it, and in the mean time you write your next masterpiece without so much as a care about the rest of the world? Yeah, that's a lie.

I know I'm not the first,  but I sort of feel like it should be mentioned that there's a reason most people only put out a book a year and it has nothing to do with all the time it takes to write a book. It's because of everything else. There's the writing--of course--then there's the editing. Then there's the crafting a pitch (long, medium, short, and super short), the author bio (I hope you've been working on that cause there's nothing more nerve wracking than explaining yourself in third person to complete strangers), marketing material, editing, editing, editing, proof reading (both the MS and the Galley), then there's the promotion, the chasing down leads, the helping other people because if you don't have friends and support, how are you going to get the word out there when it's your book's turn?

And that takes a lot of time. I mean a lot of time.

 I had hoped to be up to drafting my shiny new idea by now, but suddenly, there's a big line in front of it. It's stuff like "read manuscript One. Last. Time." and "Write Bio." and "Do I write the acknowledgement now or later?" (pro tip, if you have to ask, now is the time; you can always edit it later!) Then there's the "prep manuscript for submission," task and the "prep other manuscript for querying based off of recent feedback."

These things all take time, and not one of them is in the "write and edit the original book" category.

And the funny thing is that so many writers talk about this, but until you're in the midst of it, you can't see it. I remember reading about Shannon Messanger talking about this stuff. Beth Revis talked about it, too. I really looked up to them, but when they went on about the business side, I sort of wrote that off under the "must be nice" category.

And it is.

But I haven't written a new word in months, and that's not healthy for me or my writing. My goals all along were to get back to writing by the end of June. Do you know what month it is? Do you know what it's not looking good for?

Admittedly, most of my last 18 days of crazy stem from tearing out floors, walls and ceilings (vlog to follow soon, I hope), but it's still a real thing. I'm still not up to writing the next book. 

A wise person would set aside the writing, finish working on the house, and get back to writing when the house is in a livable state.

Let us be clear, my friends: I am not a wise person. I'm also not superwoman, so it's time to adjust some goals, and maybe recognize that the drafting isn't going to happen. (or maybe I can find a way to sneak in some minutes on my lunch break... Yeah, that's healthy, work ten hour shifts and spend my thirty minute lunch writing a novel, that's totally reasonable!)

And what about you all? How do you handle the crazies that come with the business side? How do you balance the "simple" things like having a family and writing?!


  1. Yes, my dream was definitely 'write and publish, write and publish again'. I knew there would be some promotional stuff, obviously, but I hoped my books would sell themselves on account of being written by a genius. Alas, I wrote them, so... ;-)

    I hope you get back to writing properly soon. I always know it's been too long when I pick up my fountain pen and the ink has dried up.

  2. Yes. All of this.

    I just keep watching all my time slip away. And wonder how it was that i was able to write an entire novel in 2-3 months before when now it's taking me, like, a year.

    It's because all that time just gets sucked away

  3. These are indeed the things that we don't talk about, the things that nobody tells us when we start writing. That might be for the better, though - I think if I'd known what publishing was really like when I first realized I wanted to make a career out of writing, I might have turned away from it. And then where would I be?

    (Depressed and half-mad with untold stories, as far as I can tell.)


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