Tomorrow, my debut novel Keir will have been published for a whole year. A year! I can't really call myself a new author anymore, despite still feeling like a total newbie. So it got me thinking over what I've learned since I took my first steps into publishing, even though I feel I still have so much to learn.
1.Being published isn't an automatic ticket to fame and fortune - unless you have a huge marketing team and budget, and/or you're one of those lucky few who's book is in the right place at the right time to get noticed. Otherwise you have to work for it, and work hard!
2.Getting a publishing contract (or an agent if that's the path you take) doesn't mean you'll have a book out next week, or even next month. Think next year. Cover art and editing are time consuming, and you will be one of several authors going through the process at your publishing house. With an agent, you have to wait for your book to be contracted before you even start the editing process.
3. You will have to do some, if not all, of your own marketing. This can be scary if you know nothing about marketing...okay, petrifying. But it can be fun. Most of it will be hard work (and/or expensive if you decide to pay for it, so research how effective or reputable the company/site is before paying out) and may seem totally unrewarding at times. Persistence is the key, and being prepared to experiment and try new places. And the marketing never ends.
4.I hate pirates. I could spend hours issuing DMCAs, and new sites spring up faster than you can get your book taken down (if, in fact, they respond to the DMCA at all). Sometimes you have to decide if the time and effort trying to get your book taken down is justified. Sorry, but that's the bare truth.
5.The reactions you get when you say you're an author. I've had blank stares, assumptions that I must be rich and famous, that I can't be a proper author because my book isn't in Waterstones, disbelief, curiosity - you name it. The one that tickled (and shocked) me was, on saying I write scifi romance, the response 'what, like Twilight?' Er, no... Check out the post I did for Liana Brooks on 7 Myths of being a Published Author here.
6.Different publishers have different systems, time scales and formatting. It can be confusing. Don't think because you've been through one publishing house you know what to expect from the next. And don't think that one book published means you'll never get another rejection.
7.A good editor is worth more than their weight in gold and can be your best buddy.
8.A good cover is essential and will really help you sell your book, so flaunt it. But the content needs to be good too.
9.Having a free, self pubbed short with all the blurbs for your other titles and social media links (and keep these up to date!) is a good idea.
10.Don't use Twitter just to promote your books. Check out my post here on things that drive me (and a lot of other people) crazy on Twitter.
11.I LOVE being an author. Yep, despite some of the points above. Whatever the downsides, I'm doing something I can put my heart and soul into, and often sweat, blood and tears.
On the days when the other things get you down, look back at the good reviews, feedback and/or awards you've accmulated. Keep a copy of emails, letters, comments etc from your readers - even the tweets. Remember with the bad reviews that not everyone likes the same thing. Don't give up!
Just a quick one from me this week because firstly, it's my 20th wedding anniversary on Wednesday. Woo hoo! Somehow my dear soulmate has survived two decades in my company, and we're still going strong. However, he has this week off to celebrate, which means no internet for me - mostly. ;)
And tomorrow I celebrate one year published with a Book Birthday Bash for Keir. My fellow party hosts will all have a blue themed food or drink to share with you, and there are giveaways! Stop by my blog here tomorrow. :)
Lastly, my edits for Imprint - my Brigade anthology sfr short - went back to my lovely editor last Thursday, so as I wait for the next round, it's a rush to finish and submit my cyberpunk short Reboot to another anthology. Wish me luck!
Brigade members - don't forget to sign up for the 2nd SFR Brigade Midsummer blog hop - I'll be sending out details next week. Plus the two cover finalists for the anthology are up in the Facebook group - go cast your votes!
In the meantime, check out this new publisher for SFR titles, opened by fellow Brigader Misa Buckley this month - SUNBURST PRESS!
In the meantime, here's some seriously excellent and down to earth thoughts on rejection letters by author Dawn Jackson - here.