Saturday, April 15, 2017

M is for 8 Misconceptions About Writing and Publishing #AtoZChallenge

Misconceptions about writing and publishing abound. Here are the eight I hear most often.

1.  You wrote a book? You’re going to be rich.
Yes, someone said this to me. It took a huge amount of self-control not to burst out laughing. A small percentage of authors can live off their writing. A much, much smaller percentage get rich from it. Most of us are lucky to get a month’s wages out of a year’s worth of writing income.

2.  Once you get one book published, it’s easy to get published after that.
While it is easier to get the second book published than the first, easy is a relative term. It’s still highly competitive and has to be what the publisher or agent happens to be looking for at the time. Unless you’re a household name, there are no free passes.

3.  If I quickly write a book and upload it to Kindle, the money will just start rolling in.
Kindle is home to millions of books. MILLIONS. The only way readers are going to find your book is if you put in the hard work of marketing to bring it to readers’ attention. About a decade ago, authors were making a bundle on ebooks, but that era has passed.

4.  I managed to get a literary agent, now I’ve got it made in the shade.
Finding an agent who is interested in representing you is a huge feat, and I don’t want to belittle that in any way. However, the agent has to pitch your book to publishers, and if there are no takers, you’re back where you started.

5.  I had a friend who is good with grammar edit my book, so it’s ready for publication.
Editing for grammar, spelling and punctuation is only one small part of the editing process. When people hear the word “edit”, they usually think of copy editing. Your book should undergo four levels of editing before it lands in the hands of readers—developmental, substantive, copy edit and proofread. There’s much more to making your book shine that setting commas in place.

6.  Publishers are crooks who take all the money and give authors a tiny share.
In reality, publishers end up with about the same share of the retail price of the book as authors.  Who takes the largest chunk of money from book sales? Retailers take between 40 and 55%. You must also figure in the costs of printing and distributing the book. The author and publisher end up with what’s left.

7.  I’ve written an awesome book, so I need to get it on the market fast.

Nope. Take your time. Make it the best it can be. You can’t predict trends and behaviors. The book that has the best chance in the marketplace is the book that’s well written, well planned, well edited and well designed and these things all take time. Publishing is a marathon, not a sprint.

8.  I keep getting rejections, so I must not be a very good writer.
Every writer faces this thought. Maybe your book could be better, so learn more about the writing craft, get some honest beta readers, attend a conference or take some classes. If you’ve done those things and the rejections continue to roll in, keep in mind that finding the right agent or publisher on the right day for the right project is all luck. Pure and simple. If you’ve honed your writing and haven’t found a home for your manuscript, keep trying. Eventually, your number will be up. It’s all about perseverance.

What were your misconceptions when you first started writing? Share them in the comments below.


Melinda Marshall Friesen writes sci-fi novels and short stories for teens and adults, and she works as marketing director at Rebelight Publishing Inc. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada with her family.

#AtoZchallenge 2017 Operation Awesome M is for 8 Misconceptions About Writing and Publishing


Anonymous said...

Lots of great points for aspiring writers :) (ps But, seriously, when am I going to get rich from my book???)

Michelle Wallace said...

Get rich from a book? Hahaha! Unless you're JK Rowling, of course...
Do people really believe this? Okay maybe SOME aspiring authors do.
A friend editing the book? No ways!
Great post.

Karnika Kapoor said...

I managed to complete the NaNoWriMo last year, but that really put into prospective that how much re-drafting is required only to get to a manuscript. Publishing and marketing will, if I decide to finally complete it, will be another challenge.
Very informative post. thanks for sharing :)
Best Wishes!

Computer Tutor said...

I'm surprised how many efriends I have who have an agent who isn't publishing their second book. I know it happens, but it seems to happen a lot. Back to self-pub I guess.

Unknown said...

It's hilarious how many people in my life think I'm going to be quitting my day job soon because I'm a published (even, multi-published) author. Hahahahaha!

26 Things To Hate About Writing: M is for Message

Carolyn Astfalk said...

Great list - all true. People seem to think there's a lot more money in publishing than there is.

Molly said...

I LOVE this list. Fortunately, I am realistic (pessimistic?) enough to have considered these before, but it is always good to re-read. I think, in part, because I know I still want to write, despite the odds.