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Thursday, January 24, 2013

More Author Insight: Publishing Misconceptions (and a winner!)

What was the biggest misconception you had about publishing before you got a book deal?

"That getting published would rid me of self-doubt." - Sara Walsh, author of The Dark Light.

"I had no clue about distribution to bookstores, the importance of shelf placement, etc. I didn't know anything about indie booksellers or the book buyers for the big chains. They are gatekeepers, too, maybe more so than editors and agents, and I didn’t even know they existed until a little while ago. Getting a book deal is, unfortunately, just a tiny part of getting your book out in front of readers. Which is depressing, so I try not to think about it too much." - Stefan Bachmann, author of The Peculiar.

"That a book deal was the end-all, be-all of my aspirations. I believed that once I sold a book or a series, that the rest of the publication process would be stress-free. Ha. A publishing contract is just an entry ticket to an entirely new set of aspirations and new challenges." - Robin Bridges, author of The Unfailing Light.

"I had no real concept about how slowly the business operates or all the factors that go into what books are carried in bookstores, which books are faced out, what libraries decide to purchase copies. The whole publishing experience has been such a learning process, which is both exciting and very entertaining at the same time." - P.J. Hoover, author of Solstice.

"I think a lot of young writers, including me, think a novel is this outpouring of genius that someone picks up and champions. It’s not. It’s a collaborative, practical process involving many people and many steps. But don’t worry, it’s good for you. Maintaining your voice while balancing the whims, needs, and logistics makes you a better writer." - Lara Avery, author of Anything But Ordinary.

"That I would have a private jet by now. Sigh." - Adam Gidwitz, author of In a Glass Grimmly.

"That publishing a book is the “be all, end all” goal of writer, when it’s actually just the first step on a much longer journey. I thought I would feel like I’d “made it.” Instead I feel a bit like a freshman in high school: happy, excited, and on a HUGE learning curve!" - Sharon Cameron, author of The Dark Unwinding.

"That I’d be able to walk into any bookstore and find my book. I had no idea that publishers pay to have their books displayed face-out, or on a table. I had no idea that most books are in stores for a few weeks, then disappear." - Suzanne Selfors, author of The Sweetest Spell.

"My first job after college was at Random House, where I was an editorial assistant, so I think I actually didn't have too many misconceptions about publishing before I got my first deal. However, something I've learned since then is that bookstore events, which I thought were kind of important, are actually not very important at all — especially in YA. I love to meet my readers in person, but often the energy expended to organize and publicize a bookstore event simply isn't justified in terms of sales. What's more important for YA is outreach to librarians and teachers, which makes perfect sense, since teens still get a lot of their books at school. But now I know! And I'm so grateful to the teachers and librarians who get the word out about YA." - Malinda Lo, author of Adaptation

"I had no idea how much editing happens to a book after it’s bought. I just assumed authors wrote the story, editors fixed the grammar and punctuation and someone made the cover and that was it. Boy was I wrong. For example, Vortex, the sequel to Tempest releases January, 2013 and we are still making changes and tweaks. Sometimes it seems like a book is never really done until you’ve past the time when you’re allowed to make more changes." - Julie Cross, author of Tempest.

"I did most of my writing while living self-sufficiently on a farm and not caring about anything but the art side of it. I didn’t know anything about publishing, so I had formed no opinions. But I guess I thought that publishing would bring about a change in my work—the urge to sell out and do something trendy in order to not starve. I am happy to say that hasn’t happened. Starving is still an option, but I reckon that keeps life edgy." - A.S. King, author of Ask the Passengers.

Check back soon for the next round of Author Insight with a whole new crop of authors! 

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