Ignorance is bliss . . . especially to a non-pubbed writer! Once I signed a contract for my debut, a medieval historical romance called Music For My Soul, I faced trial by fire as I gingerly placed my big toe into the publishing pool and then shrugged, threw my arms up, and dived in head-first.
What have I learned so far that I didn’t know before?
10. The Brave New World of e-publishing has opened the floodgates to many books—both good and bad—and to complete? You’ve got to have a media presence. I understood I’d need to create an author website, and I found a web designer who is knowledgeable and helpful. No problems on doing that (http://www.laurenlinwood.com). But to scratch the surface of survival, authors also need to have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Frankly, I don’t think I’m interesting enough to tweet. It’s one thing for Ashton Kutcher to tweet what kind of coffee he picked up for him and Mila, but I doubt anyone cares what I’m downing on a daily basis. Still, I created a FB author page (http://www.facebook.com/laurenlinwood) and a Twitter account (http://twitter.com/LaurenLinwood). I post about books I’ve read, movies I’ve seen, or cartoons I find funny. Hopefully, I have some readers out there who enjoy seeing those posts!
9. I’m supposed to also be a blogger. Really? As if researching and writing novels don’t take up enough time (not to mention FB & Twitter!), I’m also required to write a blog. It seems every writer does this nowadays in order to let readers see who they are behind the writer persona. So I started Write Up My Alley (https://laurenlinwood.wordpress.com) and have blogged about everything from skinning my knee to having a flat tire to why I howled at the moon on live radio. It’s been a different outlet from my historical romance fiction writing, one I didn’t know I’d be doing, but I’ve come to enjoy it.
8. Contracts are just as long and boring as they’re made out to be, but you need to go over them carefully (and possibly obtain legal help) to be sure your deal is fair and square.
7. Marketing is now largely an author’s responsibility, with no advertising departments to walk you through—or even do the marketing for you. I had no idea that virtual book tours (such as this one) existed, and now I’m on my 3rd book, I’m doing my 3rd tour!
6. I do have a say on my cover art! I’d always heard authors got zero input, but I’ve worked with Covers by Ramona on all three releases, and she is amazing. Ramona listens well, is extremely collaborative, and transforms my written vision into a stunning visual image. That rocks!
5. There are SO MANY nice authors out there! I thought the world of published authors would be snobby, yet I’ve found them very giving and friendly, providing great advice and encouragement.
4. Everyone who finds out I’m a writer asks where I get my ideas from and wants to know how long it takes to write a book.
3. About half the people who learn I’m a writer tell me they, too, could be a fabulous writer—but they just don’t have the time for that kind of thing. So what does that say about me?!?!
2. I get more emails in a single day than I used to get in a week—from other authors, from those who want me to advertise with them, and from so many spammers my head spins like Regan in The Exorcist!
1. But the absolutely best thing I’ve learned is how supportive everyone is of my dream. Not just my family and friends, but mere acquaintances and total strangers have been encouraging. It’s almost been like a love fest—and I’m the star getting all those hugs.
Now that I’m on The Published Road, every day is unique. I’m still learning as I travel on this beautiful journey.