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.

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“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

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Making Better Use of My Time

 

Google Reader helps keep my blog-reading habit under control. One day I took the time to enter the URLs of my favourite blogs as ‘subscriptions’ and now I can access them all in one place. A quick glance lets me know which ones have new postings so I don’t have to waste time travelling to each bookmarked blog to check.

Sounds simple enough, but on second thought my opening sentence is misleading. Better to say that Google Reader consolidates my favourite blogs into one place. Period. Nothing really keeps my blog hopping under control except self discipline or good old lack of time. But what it does is allow me to use my blog-reading time to better advantage.

That’s how I managed to catch up on some of my favourites while taking a brief break from NaNoWriMo this morning. That’s how I discovered I’d missed two valuable posts by Rosslyn Elliott. That’s how I was inspired to create this post. I still haven’t made it back to NaNoWriMo.

Something Rosslyn said created an eureka moment – one of those ‘I knew that but she said it so much better than I could’ thoughts. In What Makes a Novel Feel Real? – Part 1, she suggested, Don’t get so focused on a slamdunk pace that [you] leave out the everyday moments, the normalcy that makes the novel feel real.… I’m not saying we should never have burning buildings, but unless we balance those events with the more mundane dramas that fill most of our lives, novels feel fake.”

I’m not going to re-run her posts, but I do suggest you go read both of them. I’m heading back to Google Reader now to re-read her Part 2. Then I really have to get back to my NaNo novel. At 21,300 words I still have a long way to go, and today is already the middle of our NaNo’ing month!

To reiterate Rosslyn’s question, what does it take to make a novel feel ‘real’ to you?