Publishing Realities

“You’re suggesting I have to do what? You’re kidding, right?”

I know there are a number of people following this blog who are writers aspiring to become published authors. The vision of what that involves isn’t the same for all of us. Some see it as an exciting progression from the initial writing to signing a book contract and enjoying the reward of royalty cheques. Others have been peeking over the cyber-shoulders of those already into the journey, and are learning that the major portion of work begins after a book is written.

“No way! You’ve got that all wrong. Nothing can be more challenging than slogging through the creation of a 100,000-word novel. Once it’s finished, the rest will be easy.”

If that’s what you think, you may be shocked at today’s reality. Agent Rachelle Gardner is currently running a series of blog posts on questions submitted by her readers. Yesterday’s post dealt with “Life as a Published Author,” and she pointed out life will get harder, not easier; you’ll be busier than you ever imagined, and some responsibilities will be daunting. She asks, “Are you ready for the pressure?”

Most debut authors I’ve heard from say they are somewhat overwhelmed – that the edits, deadlines, and marketing, all while writing the next book under a contract schedule, have dumped more stress on them than they anticipated. Balancing the multiple tasks of the writer’s life often leaves little time for anything else, including families and jobs… and yes, they still need those jobs. The financial ‘rewards’ of publication are usually such that maintaining another source of income is a necessity.

No doubt about it. Publication will move our novel writing out of the realm of a pleasant hobby and into a demanding occupation that requires more of us than we may be prepared to give.

“I’m not listening. I don’t want to hear this. Closing my ears. La-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.”

Is this the reality that you imagined or do your dreams of being a published author take you somewhere else? If you haven’t read Rachelle’s post, please do, and then return to let me know what your reaction is. The many comments are worth reading, too. There are others wearing the rose coloured glasses that I put up on the shelf some time ago.


“Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart,
as working for the Lord, not for men.”

Colossians 3:23


“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us–

yes, establish the work of our hands.”

Psalm 90:17

~  ~  ~


Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

9 thoughts on “Publishing Realities

  1. Thanks for the link to Rachelle’s post. I’m off to check it out.

    Christi Corbett

  2. Having a few published authors as friends, my rose-coloured glasses came off a while ago, LOL. Still, knowing what it’ll be like probably doesn’t truly prepare someone for living that reality — I imagine it’ll be overwhelming anyway! (I still hope it happens, though… ;)) Thanks for the link (and the very cute photos!).

  3. I worked in the music world for years, so I thought I was prepared for what came after the book contract. I wasn’t, and I’m not sure there’s any way to prepare, really.
    (although copy edits were a joy, simply because someone was giving me a yes-or-no option – loved copy edits!).

    Now that I’m a month away from my release date, I’m feeling a whole new kind of pressure – that of reviews – and because it’s all external, I’m struggling a bit – not just because some of those reviews may be less-than-flattering, because that’s just a reality, but because SO much, like even getting to publish a second book, rides on what happens next.

    What makes it manageable for me is focusing on the work (I’ve actually got a sign on my desk that says “DO THE WORK IN FRONT OF YOU”) because the rest is out of my hands. I’ve done the best I could, so now, it has to be enough – as scary as that is.

    Anyhow, that’s one handsome jaybird in your post…. 🙂

  4. The emotional challenges are even tougher than the time crunch–and the time crunch is considerable. There are so many ups and downs: editors change, books get canceled or pushed back, bookstores may not stock your book, book signings may be deserted, reviews may be nasty (and no, rejection letters are no preparation at all for reviews). And then there are the unexpected joys: the fan email, the perfect cover design, making a state list or getting an award, holding a finished copy in your hands, getting an advance check or a royalty check.
    At the end of the day, the writing itself is the best part.
    Is publishing worth it? I would say yes. But like anything else, it has its price.

  5. Loved the jay. What an attitude! Then there’s always the problem of building platform after publication as well. And what about the speaking? So much to do, so little time. And the energies flag. Good thing we’re writing for the Lord. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” That’s the watchword for the newly published author.

  6. As a published authior I can attest to the amount of work post publication requires. (and I wiork full-time) But we don’t to it because it is easy or for the money for that matter, we do it for the love of telling our stories. We do it for that one person who says, I read your book and I loved it!

  7. Thanks to each of you for your feedback. I left a comment on Rachelle’s post suggesting that despite all the pressures, I believe if we love what we’re doing it will be worthwhile. We have to love the act of writing more than the dream of publication..

  8. I’ve been reading Rachelle’s blog for a few years now and she’s wonderful. Multi-talented too. As a published author, I am often overwhelmed. This year has been a real struggle for me. With the new grandbaby and the house construction, I’m lucky if I write 2 chapters a month. It was getting to me until I finally realized I couldn’t change that and I might as well stop thinking about it. As published authors, we put a great deal of pressure on top of what’s already on our heads. My new motto for the 2nd half of 2012 is “Be Kind to Yourself.”

    1. Sounds like a very good motto, Joylene! Adding guilt and pressure to an already stressful mix isn’t going to make the writing come any easier or faster.

      There are several helpful agent and editor websites online, but I particularly like Rachelle’s and have learned a lot from it. I don’t know how she manages to maintain her schedule of daily posts, but I’m glad she does. It’s one I read every day.

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