Thursday, April 15, 2010


Many writers begin writing for the joy of the writing experience. They have no true idea of where the end of the road leads. It is believed that getting published is the answer to it all. Then the cold hard reality of going from writer, to salesperson hits them when they have to write their first Query Letter. After they snag an agent with the query letter, then they have to write a synopsis of their book. After the synopsis has been requested, the agent may ask for a partial then a copy of the full manuscript for review. During this process, the author’s submission may be rejected.

From Finishing that first Novel to getting an agent

After you get the agent, there may be more changes requested. The agent will shop your book and the sordid process of rejection continues. Publishers have their own tastes and your agent is competing against others to get your work considered. With acceptance by the publisher, you may have to do a rewrite of your synopsis and parts of your book to meet their criteria

Whoop! Your published – now what?

This is where it all truly begins. You are no longer just a writer who creates stories; you now are responsible for helping in any way to sell your book. This means, if you are not a people person, you will have to make adjustments or in the end – you may lose it all. At this point you have to tweak and repair your manuscript for the editor and work on a marketing plan. You have to prove yourself worthy to continue through the process if you want to stay on with the publisher. This is where you go from writer to marketing person, to speaker, to promoter, to cold caller, to beggar.

What a writer does after getting published

- Work on Marketing Plan

o You have to give viable input and put work into creation of your own marketing plan and the marketing plan of your publisher. Why? Because if you don’t sell books, they’ll drop you and move on.

- Get out there and network

o You have to set up your own platform and grow your list of possible book buyers. Why? So you can solidify yourself as not just a writer, but a part of the publishing team that is putting out big bucks to promote your stuff. If you don’t grow this then, they’ll drop you and move on.

- Agree to do book signings, virtual tours, promote yourself

o If you are not a people person, then take a toast master’s class. Learn to reach out to people. You also have to be willing to support your publisher in these events.

o Book signings are not just a sit there and the book sells itself event. You have to work to sell as many books as possible for each bookstore – otherwise, they won’t invite you back or purchase more of your books. Why? Because it’s about sales – profits for your publisher and profits for the bookstore.

o Virtual Tours are about more networking and writing. Yep, writing – a lot – to support the bloggers that you visit during your virtual tours. It requires follow-up and organization while you write to support the audience of that bloggers site. These bloggers do this for free, so you want to always be gracious – even when they give you a bad book review.

Keep writing great books

In order to keep your products on the shelves and keep your publisher buying your work, you have to keep writing great stuff. Otherwise, you’ll be dropped just short of a year and would’ve only earned your advance.

The myth that you get paid a lot as an author

Many authors think that they will be millionaires. If they write that one great book, they’ll be able to quit their day job. That is so not the norm. Most writers only earn out their advance. When they do get royalties, they aren’t that big. Also, don’t forget, that as a writer you spend time and money promoting yourself. Most writers use up their advance to better promote their book so that their sales numbers go up to the point where the publisher wants to keep them on board.

The nutshell

Writing the book is just the beginning. If you don’t see yourself as a salesperson trying to sell a product, then your fantasy dream of the life of a writer will be burst. The reality of it is that a published author is their biggest promoter and investor. If you don’t have the inclination to forge your own success in your career of an author, then you won’t gain the success you seek.


M.R.J. Le Blanc said...

I have to say, I disagree with A LOT of what you posted here. Setting up a platform is great, but there are many authors who do very little and get book after book contracted just fine. It's the publisher's marketing that really matters, your platform isn't as important unless you're writing non-fic. And a writer shouldn't feel required to become a people person if they don't want to. If a writer wants to do some local booksignings great, but it's not going to make or break your success with the publisher. Many authors don't even do virtual tours, and sell very well. And no, most authors DON'T use their advance to promote themselves. I've heard of more authors using their advances for down payments, splurges, and other real life things as opposed to marketing.

All in all they're great ideas you've written here, but to put them in a light that makes it look like it's required seems a little misguided.

Sheila Deeth said...

I'm still only self-published, so anything I can do to help sell my current books, or get that "real" publishing contract, is great. Thanks.

LM Preston said...

Most of my comments came from my networking with authors that are traditionally published through large houses and smaller houses. It is my opinion, yet based on experience of other's I've befriended in my journey. Thanks for you insight M.R.J. Le Blanc. Another author that was a best seller gave great insight into what happens when you get published. Here is a link to her blog: by LViehl

Glen Akin said...

This is great advice. Cheers!

Remilda Graystone said...

There is some great advice in this post, and reminds me that publishing is a business after all.

reading. writing. revolution. said...

Well, a lot of this is conventional wisdom, but there's so much contradictory advice out there, the only way to play it is to do what you think is best to get yourself and your book out there. It all depends on your publisher and yourself. I plan on get very involved with marketing, etc., and I have some great contacts/friends who will help me generate attention. The key is that I've taken on being a writer as a kind of second job, and it's become the other big half of my life outside of my job, which I love already. So, it's all good. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I'm just trying to network, make friends, see what comes of all my efforts and feel comfortable in the knowledge that my only real goal in this was to hold my own book in my own hand -- everything else is gravy. :)