Monday, July 12, 2010

Writing Myth #5

Writing Myth #5: Once I'm published, the book will do all the work from there.

I keep saying this, but I'm not published yet. I'm not ready to be. But I've already spent years writing. If you want to be technical about it, I really started writing in novel length manuscripts at the age of 7 or 8 (can't quite remember. I keep changing the age when I tell this story).

That's just a little under two decades that I've dreamed of being a published writer. Over fifteen years of writing. Though I don't know if what I wrote when I was 8 could be called writing. (Cringe. Cringe. Why do I keep that stuff around again?)

Anyways, my point is, by the time I get to a point where I'm ready to be published, and so is my work, I'll likely have spent many, many years working on it. That's a lot of time. Wouldn't it be nice if once I finally got there, I could just hand over my book to a publisher, and then sit back and be rewarded for all of that work?

But alas! It is not to be.

Publishers these days are looking for people who are willing to self-promote their own book. A LOT of book signings, promotions, social networking, contest running, and GETTING YOUR BOOK OUT THERE is what needs to happen in order for a book to become a success. Publishers are also more likely to sign on with an author if they already have a public platform from which to launch their own fame.

Yes, you might have put years of work into your book. But when it's done, you're going to have to put in even more work before it will start paying off.

This is why the pay off for most of us needs to come from the enjoyment of the craft itself. No, we are not desperate but happy writers who will scribble anything for free. But we are hard workers.

I think I need to go back on something I said last week.
Last week I said that all of the time us writers have carved out for our writing careers, before publication, can be spent in pure writing. But that's not entirely true.
If you're thinking of being published someday, it never hurts to begin building your public platform before you start seeking publication.
A few years ago when I began to learn about what it takes to get published, I got serious about building a platform. I joined Twitter, started several blogs, became more active on facebook, and reached out to every single writing blog I could get my hands on. It was thrilling and informative.

But I quickly found myself not having any time to actually write anything.

So I haven't done a very good job recently of building up my platform, getting to know people, and reaching out to others who might enjoy what I write. But I've chosen to do that on purpose until I get to a certain part in my writing where I know publication is going to come into the picture soon.

It's a balance.

Just make sure you love what you are writing enough to spend lots and lots of time with it, 'cause you're not just going to be writing it, you're also going to be reading it aloud to others, signing hundreds of copies of books (hopefully), and maybe even toting it around the country on a book tour. You won't just be handing it over to a book publisher and watching the royalties roll in. As always, you have to work hard for your book.

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