What’s it really like to have a book published? In the days before my book’s release I always wondered what life was like for published authors. What kinds of things did they have to do on a daily basis? What other responsibilities did they have besides the actual writing?
Now that I’m four months on the other side of publication (The Preacher’s Bride released in October of 2010), I can share an inside glimpse at what life has been like for me lately.
Over the past three weeks in January, here’s a list of some of the things I’ve worked on:
• I entered The Preacher’s Bride into several national contests.
• I wrote a four-paged single-spaced synopsis for my third book.
• I dialoged with my editor about the synopsis and plans for Book 3.
• I wrote at least five interviews/guest posts (not including my own blog posts).
• I read a book for a debut author for endorsement purposes.
• I had to write up and turn in marketing ideas for The Doctor’s Lady.
AND . . . most importantly, at the beginning of January, I started the first draft of my third contracted book. I work on it every day (except Sunday), and have given myself a daily word count goal of 1000 words/day. I recently passed 20K. However, I will have to cut back substantially on my daily word count over the next few weeks as I dive into another round of edits on The Doctor's Lady. In other words, I'll be juggling writing one book while editing another.
In addition to the writing responsibilities listed above, I also have numerous online responsibilities. I shared some of my social media statistics last week in this post: When Social Media Becomes a Time-Suck. And if you read that post, you’ll recall that emails, blogging, and other social media keep me very busy too.
The responsibilities of my writing career have gradually increased into a full time job. And since I’m also a full time teacher and mom, I now feel like I have two very full time jobs. (As a side note, you may find it interesting to know that I’ve yet to receive my first royalty check. My publisher sends out royalty checks twice a year, and since I was still earning back my advance in the fall, I’ve yet to receive a “real” paycheck.)
Of course my experience is uniquely mine, and the responsibilities of my writing career will differ from other published authors in many ways. But there are some common elements that all writers, published or not have to face. Most of us have multiple tasks to juggle. We struggle to find quality writing time. And we’re often harried, striving to do more in less time.
In today’s publishing industry, choosing a professional writing career is not for the faint of heart, the weak of will, or the timid in spirit. What kinds of writers will make it to publication, and then once there, stick it out long enough to become successful?
1. Writers who use their time wisely.
2. Writers who zealously plunge into hard work.
3. Writers who are willing to put forth a lot of effort with little compensation.
4. Writers who are willing to persevere through difficult days, weeks, months.
5. Writers who can pull themselves back up and keep going after disappointment.
6. Writers who dream big and make tangible goals for reaching those dreams.
7. Writers who are humble enough to know they can improve.
8. Writers who continue to cultivate their passion and love of writing
9. Writers who have a vision beyond themselves and their success.
10. Writers who reject quick gratification and opt to wait patiently for long term success.
We would all be wise to remember that in our early years we’re establishing a strong foundation for later. All the waiting, juggling, and struggling of pre-pubbed days help prepare writers for the increased work after publication. And all the hard work during the early years of published author life are setting the stage for greater success later.
In other words, we don’t have to waste a single effort or moment. We can make them all count in this incredible journey we’re on.
So do you have what it takes? Are you developing the traits that will help you stick it out for the long haul? Of the traits I've listed, what do you need to work on the most?