Having your first
I will be attending a writer’s conference in a couple of weeks
and I have been assigned to a panel who will discuss, “Thinking
like an author; how publishing a book changes us.” I’m
the relative rookie of the group with only two full-length novels
in print but that puts me just a little closer to that transition
date of being an aspiring writer vs. a published author.
guessing that at least some of the people who might read this column
might be sitting on their first manuscript, unsure of what to do
next. They haven’t been able to find an agent and no major
publisher will accept an unsolicited submission. There are other
first book was released by a publisher who didn’t accept returns,
priced their products higher than the industry standard, and did
minimal editing; the standard POD model of publishing. Being a newcomer
to the business I really had no idea just how much of a disadvantage
I’d been handed and how much of an uphill battle I would be
facing. Undaunted, I sought out reviewers, contacted hundreds of
bookstores, wrote to library agents nationwide, and registered as
a speaker with my local Chamber of Commerce. I attended at least
five writer’s conferences a year and spent literally thousands
of dollars promoting my book.
few folks agreed to review my work and I’m happy to say that
every single one of them was complimentary if not outright enthusiastic;
even the ones who were reluctant to even read it. Bookstore signings?
A total of four and two of them were quite successful. I’m
not sure how many libraries picked it up but every once in a while
I get surprised. The Chamber of Commerce brought me two speaking
engagements with civic organizations in my local community.
point here is that even though my book was not offered by a major
publishing house and chain bookstores refused to carry it in inventory,
it sold reasonably well and helped me make that huge step in confidence
that allowed me to consider myself a professional.
is possibly the most key ingredient on the road to success. Confidence
is what has allowed me to make some progress. I have done enough
networking to gain a certain degree of respect among accomplished
and successful authors and that leads to more confidence.
second book is with a fairly new but aggressive publisher that employs
a full staff that includes editors and marketing experts. Their
business is patterned after the big New York houses and is treated
as such in the industry. I’m still not represented by a literary
agent and still not pulling in the six figure advances but I’m
a whole lot closer than I was a few years back and I’ll be
ready when the opportunity pops up.
published absolutely changes you. Even if your first publisher is
sub-standard it has opened a door. There won’t necessarily
be anyone standing there to invite you in but there won’t
be anyone blocking your path either. You’ve moved ahead…
Just don’t stop.
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