Writer Wednesday: Advice to Newbie Authors Starting Out In Publishing
You've got your book written, and you're ready to submit it. But suddenly, it's like a black hole as swallowed up your world. Where do I go? How do I pitch publishers? Is my book ready to be published?
Let's slow down for a second— publishing is not something you should rush into. In many ways, the book industry can be seen as competitive, and when you think you've got the 'next big thing', it's tempting to go full steam ahead and get it out into the world as quickly as possible. But that will most certainly set you up for failure.
There are three key things you should think about if you're just starting out in the publishing world, and here they are:
1. Before You Start Publishing, You Should Be Building Readership
I mean, think about it for a second. If no one knows you exist, how can they find you? How do you expect to sell books if you don't talk about it first and get people interested?
This was my big publishing mistake, as a newbie, and it's something I kick myself for constantly. Having readers is where everything comes together— the editing work, the publishing work, the return on investment— without readers, it all falls apart and becomes a wasted venture.
Getting signed with a company puts you a step up— they have reputation, credibility, and devoted readers already. So it's a great starting point, but you still need to engage readers that are genuinely interested in you and your book.
2. Although Money Plays a Big Factor, You Shouldn't Be Doing It For Money
I'm going to be brutally honest here— even big writers don't make as much as you think they do. The idea of becoming a wealthy, bestselling author like J. K. Rowling is highly unlikely to happen in reality. But that being said, one of the key factors in consistent book sales and income is writing lots of books. (I mean, just look at writers like Stephen King and Rick Riordan) By doing this, you create multiple leads, income streams, and in turn build your credibility as a writer.
Which is why you shouldn't be doing it for money, but for the love of writing itself. To churn out enough books to really make an impactful difference in your paycheck, you need the perseverance and passion of a writer on crack.
3. At The Heart of It All, You Should Be Writing For You
Many authors start writing as a form of expression or out of enjoyment for the craft. The idea of creating worlds and forming stories is exciting and fun, and many writers get a constant ache to be writing books.
Which is why it's important to keep in mind that any work you decide to publish should not be written for readers, or for the purpose of selling to readers, but written for you.
When you get into a mindset that you have to create the perfect story that readers will love, you put a lot of pressure on yourself and it can turn your manuscript into something completely different and terrible. Instead, write the story that you want to read— because as a reader, you are part of a demographic of other readers who have the same tastes, and you are ultimately writing for them by writing for yourself. Your work will turn into something true to your heart and wholeheartedly wonderful in its own being.