Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Time Commitments

I thought I'd share this link from a literary agent. Rachelle Gardner is an agent with WordServe Literary and she writes a terrific blog. A few weeks ago, she wrote a post detailing the time commitments newly published authors will face and how to prepare for them. Check out rants & ramblings: on life as a literary agent to read her post.

Her article was thought provoking because many people underestimate how much work any job is. It's easy to assume movie stars don't work hard or that published authors have it easy. All jobs require effort, and the amount of effort isn't always discernible to someone not doing that particular job.

If you intend to become published, writing is only one part of the equation.

Revisions, critiques, writing a query and synopsis, research, and organizing take time. And let's face facts: most writers do not sell their very first book to the first editor they submit to. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but it's rare. So all the work you put into the first book will be repeated with number two, and three...and you may be doing it without the benefit of a contract.

At some point in this journey, it'll hit you that other unpublished authors have websites and blogs. They go to conferences and seem to know all these insider people. And you will feel the tug--the tug to up your game. Peer pressure! Again, more time involved that doesn't directly relate to your book but is essential to your career.

There's nothing wrong with waiting until you publish to set up your promotional tools. After all, an editor will buy your book because of the writing, not because you have a website. However, after "the call," there are many new and exciting issues you will have to deal with like contracts, revisions, line-edits, art-sheets, and possibly, a contract for another book. Do you really want to be figuring out how to get a website up and running while you're bombarded with all that? You will need a website; editors expect you to promote your book through it, which means it'll have to be up and running pretty quickly.

And the process isn't over. Editors want writers who have more than one book in them. They're taking a chance on a new author. They get thousands of queries and proposals every year. You will have to prove yourself to them. If the book you sold took four years to write, be prepared you won't have that luxury with the next book. A good indication of what editors expect from their authors is to look at their current roster. Are their best-sellers putting out two books a year? What about their newer authors? It should give you an idea of their expectations.

My intention isn't to scare you. It's just that many new authors don't fully understand what is involved with getting a book published.

Join me on Friday for a breather from all this heavy stuff!


Write Already! It's Wednesday!

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