So I've been on this post-book deal journey for the last few months and I'm definitely learning as I go along. I don't know if there is really anyway to fully prepare for this, but I thought I'd share some things that have surprised me along the way. Some of these you CAN get a jump on before that book contract is in your hands.
1. Publishers and agents really are respectful that the story is your work.
You hear all the horror stories--the tenet that publishing is a business (it is) and that once you get into it, you lose a lot of your control (you don't). That has not been my experience. No changes have been taken out of my hands thus far. Both agent and editor edit suggestions, were just that--suggestions. If something didn't resonate with me, we could discuss it. It wasn't do this or we're done. When the editor suggested I change the title, she didn't tell me what to change it to. It was up to me to come up with titles I felt comfortable with.
2. If you're an introvert while you're "pre-published", it will bite you in the butt once you have that book contract.
Editors expect you to be building connections with other authors. They will ask you what authors YOU can approach for blurbs. Yes you. I've been lucky. The lovely and talented (and best-selling) Shayla Black, who I met through my local RWA group, very generously read my book and gave me a cover blurb (you can see it on my books page). I also received one recently from my friend and agency-mate Tiffany Reisz who will debut before me. But I'm still having to approach some authors that I admire but have never met, which is much harder (especially for an introvert like me) to do. Yes, your agent can help with some of this, but you are more likely to get yeses from people that you have already built a connection with. Start now!
3. Writing does not get any easier even when you know the book you're writing is already sold. In fact, writing on deadline just makes it all that more intense.
This is not shocking, but there it is. Writing is ALWAYS hard. Luckily, the fun always outweighs the pain in the end. : )
4. You can deduct BOOKS on your taxes when you're a writer.
Yep, among a lot of other things, because reading is part of your job as a writer. And guess what? You don't have to be published or have a book deal to do so. You can claim writer as your profession and only have make income in three out of the next five years. So that means you have two years to claim it and give yourself time to get a deal. I'm not a tax professional, but go look up the rules.
5. It really is that awesome.
Despite the stress of learning everything on the fly and writing under a deadline and all the other things that go along with the journey to debut authorhood, it still feels amazing. Every day I still have that moment where I'm like, "Holy $#!+! My books are going to be on the shelves." Nothing beats that feeling. :) So all the hard work is definitely worth it.
Okay and before I forget, the winner of the book from Ashley March's guest blog is....
THE COZY READER!!!
(Ashley will email you.)
So what have you learned in your journey so far? What has surprised you the most? Do any of the above things surprise you?