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Thursday, September 29, 2011

More Author Insight: Publishing Misconceptions

What was the biggest misconception you had entering the publishing industry?

"I thought that it moved at a lot faster pace than it actually does. Early on I was convinced that I had to work as fast as humanly possible on my end, because surely everyone else was doing the same thing - right? And the book would be out in six months, tops? But in actuality, the publishing industry moves at a glacial pace. There are furious bursts of activity, then radio silence for weeks or months. Which is why it's so important for writers to cultivate a sense of discipline - those silent weeks can lull you into a false sense of security." - Lia Habel, author of Dearly Departed.

"I guess I thought: If I write a book, it will get picked up by a publisher and then I'll buy a nice house with a swimming pool and have a swim and hang out in the sun.  The truth: The work is HUGE and it goes on and on.  This is not a profession that allows you to hang out by the pool, at least not after two books (and a third coming).  Get ready to work (of course, you also get to meet great people and do fun stuff -- you just work a lot, too)." - Geoff Herbach, author of Stupid Fast.

"That everything happens glacially. That has not been the case for me. Born Wicked sold in a week; I got my edit letter three weeks later, on the same day the deal was announced in PW. My deadlines were quick; we were basically done with edits within three and a half months. There were only six months between the deal and ARCs arriving at my house. It’s been crazy. Crazy and amazing." - Jessica Spotswood, author of Born Wicked.

"That if I worked hard on a book for years I'd be able to get it published! I have several picture books that I absolutely slaved over, and although I got great responses from workshop groups, and personal rejections from editors, I never broke through. Grrrr.... (Not that I'm bitter, or anything.)" - Marianna Baer, author of Frost.

"That there are no three-martini lunches and only a modest amount of glam—not for me but the publishers. (I’m a Freudian; I never expect glam; my martini glass is always half-full; and there are never enough olives.) I was stunned by how much work goes into a book. Coming up with a decent story is hard enough—writing is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life, and that includes cutting people open—but the effort that goes into turning that story into a product you would want to buy is huge and, many times, thankless.

I remember how stunned I was the first time I ever walked into an editor’s office. I don’t exactly know what I expected. Maybe something like my office (I was still in private practice at the time): lots of light, comfortable chairs, some tasteful artwork. Hah! This poor guy lived in a Monty Pythonesque hole in the middle of the road: stacks of manuscripts teetering on tables, spilling off chairs and shelves; a single, sickly fluorescent overhead; a thumbnail slit of a window. I’ve seen inmates’ cells that were larger. That poor editor probably ate gravel for breakfast—and yet he took me and another writer out to lunch. (For which I felt incredibly guilty; I kept trying to pay my share until the other writer clued me in about the corporate card. Oh. Still.)

Next time you pick up a book, you’re holding a group effort. Those folks behind the scenes, in the shadows? They work hard and deserve a hell of a lot more recognition than they get." - Ilsa Bick, author of Ashes.

"That once you are published things will get easier. If anything, they become more complicated and stressful." - Angie Frazier, author of The Eternal Sea.


"That my career as an actor had prepared me for the onslaught of criticism. Wrong. I have a thick skin and am good at taking criticism, but it can still be difficult. I have months where I can't go near a goodreads page." - Stacey Jay, author of Juliet Immortal.
"That my daily writing life would get easier. It doesn't. What happens, hopefully, is that with continued experience, authors get better at dealing with their own insecurities and issues. Nobody can solve your problems for you." - Stephanie Perkins, author of Lola & the Boy Next Door.
"Same as everyone! That it was all very glamorous and hush hush and ivory tower. And it’s really, really not. In many ways, though, it’s much better." - Amy Garvey, author of Cold Kiss.
"That my first book would make me an international bestseller.  I guess I overestimated my fabulousness just a little." - Gemma Halliday, author of Deadly Cool.
"That I was publishing a book for my family and friends...that no one else would bother with it." - Beth Kephart, author of You Are My Only.
"How much you (don’t get) paid being an author. It took so much effort, time, blood (well, not blood), sweat, and tears to write my first novel, I thought the royalties would be worth so much more. Though I am seeing the fruits of my labor now, it’s been almost 2 ½ years since I’ve published my first novel. Defiantly having multiple books so fans can gobble up the other books you’ve got once they discover you is key." - Brenda Pandos, author of The Emerald Talisman.

On Tuesday, find out what's the worst fight the authors have evr had with a character!

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