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Friday, May 26, 2017

5 Things I Didn't Know About...

Happy Friday All,

Lately I've been doing 5 Things About... type posts, and I like this format. Eventually I'll do other kinds of posts again, but for now, this seems to work. And yes, I don't have a consistent day, yet. Still trying to figure that out, but I am trying to post at least once a week.

So what's the 5 things topic today? 

5 Things I Didn't Know About Publishing

Years ago, before I really got serious about writing, I didn't know much about the publishing world. In fact, I'd say I knew next to nothing. I don't think I know everything now, or even half of what someone can know, but I know more than I did then, and so I thought I'd share some of that.

1.  I didn't know an author didn't HAVE to pay to publish his or her work.

This is a big one because it's a common misconception. Unless you are self-publishing, you do not pay up front to have your work published. Typically agents and publishers will take a percentage of what you make and you keep what's left. If you self-publish, depending on how you do it, you might keep more, but you could still end up giving a portion out to whatever you use to publish (like Amazon, etc.) in some cases, in self-publishing you might have up-front costs (like cover art). I don't pay for any of it up front because my publisher covers it, and takes a percentage of my royalties (what an author earns from sales of the book).

2.  Publishing is a waiting game.

You wait for email responses to queries/pitches/submissions. Agents and editors are INUNDATED with requests/pitches/queries, etc. It takes time for them to go through their inboxes and it takes time for them to go through manuscripts, and get things done. Very
few things in the publishing world happen quickly. Expect to wait. No one is super-fast at any of it (after all, it took you more than a day to write, polish, and format your work, right? You didn't finish in one day, and if you think you did, you probably have some editing and polishing left to do, or you wrote something very, very short--like a blog entry, novella, or an article).

3.  Typically you will do the majority of your promotional work.

Those glossy posters or displays you see at bookstores? That's not the norm. Especially if you're not well-known.

For my upcoming release,
I put together this graphic.
Not too many publishers do much promotional work in general. Some will do a little, but the majority of it is up to the author. This means you figure out Tweeting and Facebook posts. Unless you have an agent, you're the one scheduling appearances (unless you have a publisher that sends you on a book tour, but that's very rare, or someone approaches you for an appearance/event). So you have to get used to "blowing your own horn" so to speak. Get used to telling people you're a writer and what you write and what's published. All of that. Expect to pay for promotional items like bookmarks, or pens or whatever. There are ways to use cost-effective places for these things, but on bookmarks and business cards you can spend $25-$500 depending on what you do, where you have them printed, and how many you order. Business cards you can spend $25 or more for 250-500 business cards depending on where you go (I like Vistaprint and many authors really like Zazzle--I almost went with them--for business cards).  Some authors have gone to Next Day Flyers for items. I used Got Print at one point for one of my bookmarks. Also, I was told that Pens.Com is a good place to order some promotional items, but I haven't ordered from there, yet.

4. Every author has a stack of rejection letters. Yes, even the big names. And, very rarely will an agent or editor give you details on why your work was rejected.

An NY Times bestseller that I know personally has done many talks where she pulls out folders, and boxes, and suitcases full of
rejection slips of all shapes, sizes. Rejection happens. It can suck, but it doesn't mean you'll never sell your work.

Also, most rejection letters are form letters. In the rejection slip/letter you might get something along the lines of "Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately, this isn't what we're looking for at this time."

To deal with the sting of rejection, most authors (including myself) will recommend chocolate, wine, or some other comfort methods (perhaps a massage?)

What else can you do about it? You can dust yourself off, get up, and keep trying. Keep writing. 

5.  Writer's groups. I knew there were magazines and books for writers, but I had no idea about groups. I'm glad I found Romance Writers of America (RWA) and my local chapter. It's made a difference in my life and career.

Happy writing!

Have A Fabulously Fantastic Friday!

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