Hmm. Most times that's the only response I have to various situations. I am the type of person who fundamentally believes that there isn't a lot I can do to stop something that is inevitable or change the past by dwelling on it. I will caveat that by saying there are situations that compel me to speak up. I did that this week and continued to ponder my thoughts on being an author.
In doing so, I refreshed my mind with re-reading a few blogs, stopping by some outstanding authors sites, and thought about my own road trip as an author. Interestingly enough, I'm not alone in my experiences.
- Writing a book is only part of the journey. It's fulfilling but you have to ask yourself, am I satisfied in my soul or do I want more for this creation.
- On to publishing. Do you find an agent first or do you submit to a publisher on your own? I opted for direct submission to a publisher. I write spicy romance but many of my stories are not "in the box" so to speak. My version of HEA or HFN tends to be a bit different in some manuscripts. But, my stories are character driven and they decide. What am to do?? LOL
- Once the prospective publisher is chosen, you read every detail of their submission guidelines and write the infamous "Synopsis". Authors know what this important summary is and for readers, it is the heart of the entire book. Nothing is held back and every hook is given away. Now the balancing act begins. Most houses don't want you to submit the same manuscript to them and half a dozen others. Their reasoning is justifiable. They take the time to review your work and if they offer a contract, they don't want to be bounced around while the author waits around for a different offer. This process can take a few weeks to months so what do you do?
- Write another book while you wait. Once you get a contract, you will want to have more to offer as time goes.
- Shazam! You get an offer to publish your book! This is one of the best feelings I've had as an author. It is a gold star moment! You read through the contract and sign it. If you use a pseudonym like I do, you make sure that's the name you want to use. Authors have various reasons for a pen name. Mine is because of the type of work I do in my job as well as the genre of my books. I have eroticism in my books and felt that a separation of sorts would be best for my situation. My chosen pseudo is a derivative of my name and I like it.
- Once your release date is set, it becomes difficult to focus back on writing a new story but I did. Then I got the cover. Holy crap! It was perfect! I was in love. LOL
- Next come the edits. This was an eye opening moment for me. I expected a few changes but the colored lines and words of correction nearly catapulted me into a seizure. Did I really dangle participles that much? I worked through them and as I got to the end of the book, a small note from my editor sent a rush of goosebumps over my skin. She loved my book and brought her to tears. Dang! It was awesome.
- The book gets published and somewhere inside I realized I was in an abyss. I had no idea how to know if my book sold, if it did, how many and how did that equate to my royalties. Since I get my check each quarter, I wouldn't see anything for six months. Once quarter one is done, all the proceeds are sent to my publisher who then pays me at the end of the second quarter.During the mean time, I read all my reviews, good and bad. Watched the various rankings at the different sales outlets and I still wasn't quite sure. I expected that my friends and family would swarm all over my book but as supportive as they were, they didn't clean the electronic shelves. I've found that is frequent for a good deal of authors and I'm okay with it. Authors write what they know, and I write books with sex in them. Two plus two equals four. LOL
- Promoting myself was tough. Bragging without being a nuisance is a careful line.It's a balance of getting your book out there but still giving something back. Whether a free book or a heartfelt blog. Something. I run into from promoting authors that by now is their lack of effort in giving me something in return for my interest so I just hit delete when I see their post on a loop. There are others that give me a wonderful tease and I pop to their site to check out their book as well as see what they have to say.I buy from those that peaked my interest with their blurb, cover art and what they blogged about. Its a combination for me to spend my money as a reader. I've found those authors who gave back to me usually had awesome books.
- Then, the first check finally arrived. I was less interested in the dollar amount as I was in the sales report. I didn't sell enough to quit my day job but I wasn't disappointed. Let me break out here for a moment. The one thing I quickly realized was the investment my publisher had made in me at this point. I didn't pay for the professional edits, beautiful cover or any of the electronic formatting. All those lovely people received a share of the proceeds with me and I knew it was far less a cut than I received. It wasn't until much later that I actually understood that a good cover is several hundreds of dollars not including paying for the model on the cover as well as the value of the edits.The formatting isn't cheap either. All total, my publisher easily invested $1,500-$2,000 dollars in me for one book. I'll admit, I felt anxious. Would I be worth the investment?
- Over time, I released several more books and am still happy with my house. I love that phrase, "my house". I did dabble with another publisher but I didn't click with their style and I've also received emails from others asking me to submit. I contemplate it but when I look at their site, or their authors blogs, I opt against it. I value the professionalism and relationship with my publisher.
- To conclude my perception of the road of being an author, I can summarize a few things. It's the a long walk, not a sprint for building readership. Sales ebb and flow but I still have my day job. I've met some truly outstanding individuals who are authors with spectacular books.I appreciate the investment "my house" makes in me. My long walk is going well and so is that of many of my author friends. I wish them well and they do me also. It's a wonderful community to be involved with.Oh and I still get lots of edits but I'm getting better...so my editor say anyway!