Thursday, October 14, 2010

Learning To Be An Author

12:21 PM | ,


I used to have this perception that being an author wasn't, necessarily, work. Writing is fun -- erego not a job. WRONG.

I figured this out somewhat after my first book saw publication and the world of, dum-dum-dum promotions became part of my life. So, website up, blogs somewhat active, presence scattered, newsletter out... Added that into my schedule.

Kids, it only gets worse!

This week, I had a deadline that I was in a rush to meet because the project was new for me and some of the elements are unfamiliar. Then it was 2 hours on the phone with my agent, discussing a multitude of things and options, one of which was a slight request for revisions on a previously submitted manuscript. Then, as my week of catch up and downtime is beginning to fade, I get edits back for a contracted manuscript.

In short, each day that passes, I learn more about the job of being an author. Promotions never fade. If there's nothing slated immediately, there's a need to keep back list material circulating. Add in the need to keep interest up about what's coming down the pipe -- promo work increases exponentially to the number of titles (at least at this point in my career).

The website is never current enough. The newsletter never feels engaging enough. Workshops to plan and propose. Chapter responsibilities which also increase with more available titles (and they should within reason).

There's a constant learning curve. My PAN membership went through, and now I'm learning more about what I should be doing, and what to expect as things unravel more. I tell ya -- if anyone ever tries to tell you being an author is a "cush job" -- please laugh in their face. It's seriously not. We do have the benefit of working from our homes -- but try and convince family and children that just because you're sitting in the living room at the computer, doesn't mean you can't get up to attend to their immediate needs or carry on a conversation.

So for anyone who's seeking publication, get a handle on this stuff now. Add it into your routine. Trust me, having it fall in your lap can make you topsy-turvy in ways you'd never imagine.

Those of you who've already mastered it -- big kudos from me!

And on that note -- what are your promotional tools?

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Alta said...

Good post! I've seen established authors on twitter say being an author is the toughest job they've ever had, and some of them have held some tough jobs. It's not the writing, necessarily, it's everything else.

Promotional tools: I tweet, I blog, I have a FB page, and some friends made a FB fan page for me. The fact that I'm an aspiring author usually comes up in conversation as well.
On the website front, I'm holding off (and by that I mean - where's the time and how do I do it!) on the website until I'm a little closer to actually shopping around for someone to take me on. I feel like my writing needs to mature a little before I go knocking on doors and email address asking if anyone's interested in taking me on. When I get closer to that point, then it's website time.

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