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28 April 2014 @ 07:12 am
Truths from the other side of Publication  

  1. The things you think you will get from publication are mostly things that won't come along with it except possibly as a coincidence. You will not be instantly more confident, more important, or feel more validated.

  2. Publication won't mean that your second book will be easier to sell. It may be a great deal harder to sell, depending on how your first book does in comparison to expectations.

  3. Being published means that you will forever be known as the person who published this book. You will never again be the person who could publish anything again.

  4. Being published will largely take away the magic of writing. It will feel more like a job, which is both a good and a bad thing.

  5. Publication isn't the same as happiness.

  6. It is incredibly difficult to write from the heart once you have been published and people offer you money to write what they want you to write.

  7. There will always be a new gauge of “real” success. Now you've published one book, you want to get a contract for a series. Or be a NYT Bestseller. Or win a Hugo or a Newbery. Or write a small quiet book under a pseudonym to see if anyone really likes your writing if they don't know it's you.

  8. You will still have to do your laundry in the morning and put your pants on the same way as everyone else.

  9. Your kids will always think that whatever you do, by virtue of being their parents, is exceedingly dull.

  10. Your dress size will still be the same and your hair still won't do what you want it to do, especially if there are going to be photographs.

  11. New and never before known people will now sneer at you and your work.

  12. People you knew from high school still won't read your book, but they will ask you to read theirs and recommend it to your agent and basically get it published for them.

  13. You will still get writer's block and you will still often think that your work sucks.

  14. Your mother will tell you she wishes you hadn't used that word on page 116.

  15. You will offend people you did not mean to offend.

  16. You will discover that people really, really do not like you.

Candice Clark StevensCandice Clark Stevens on April 28th, 2014 06:03 pm (UTC)
I really, really like you.
Which, if you think about it, is really what matters.

Now will you read my manuscript?
Kerry Spencer on May 13th, 2014 07:04 pm (UTC)
Re: I really, really like you.
Lol, Candice.

I think a lot of us writerly people don’t think of publishing as it is. Which is, yunno, a *business.* Extant for the sole purpose of making lots and lots of money. Interested primarily in the acquisition of things that make them more money. Invested in finding subjects that are easily marketed so they can, yunno, *make more money.*

Of course, we writerly folks don’t want to believe that. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, we like to romanticize publishing. Think about it with grand, sweeping delusions of altruism, love, world peace, literary ecstasy, all that stuff. Heh. Delusion: meet brick wall of reality.

On a totally unrelated note (well, it actually is totally related, just not to the sentence that came immediately before it), Mette, you're totally right that authors should absolutely, positively pay attention to how well their publisher thinks they can sell that first book they write. (You're right about more than that, but there are so many people who think, “if only I could get my book out there, then the *world* would see…” that I want to echo the observation!) The fate of every.single.book that you will ever publish (or don’t) is tied to the success of the first one you publish.

Quantitative inquiry confirms that the *only* statistically significant predictor of a book’s sales is marketing. (Sales vs. Relative Marketing Size = a linear correlation with a Pearson’s Relationship Coefficient of 0.65.) If your book isn’t marketed, it won’t sell. Period. There are zero exceptions to this rule. (Literally zero. I was shocked when I saw the dataset!) And because booksellers rely on BookScan’s record of how many books your last book sells to determine how many copies of your next book to order, editors and publishers rely on BookScan when they fill out their P & L (profit and loss) sheets, and the P & L sheets determine your marketing budget, if your first book doesn’t sell, your only real hope of ever writing a bestseller in your entire life is to follow that other advice to try publishing a new “debut” book under a pseudonym.

(I think pseudonyms are an awesome idea, anyway. So practical! So easy to dissociate from yourself so that rejections of “Pseudonym" don’t have to immediately feel like rejections of *you.* But I guess the whole “changing-your-name” thing could be harder for some people than others. And I don’t care enough about the subject to keep pontificating on it! ;)

I want to say more… but I have a feeling that the urge I feel to *keep* commenting past this point is primarily born from my desire to avoid working on this annoying big.dumb.thing I have to do for my place of employment. So I will honor that and stop writing. Or, rather, stop writing *here.* It’s amazing how many places call to you on a visceral level, asking you to write on them, when you’re procrastinating something! :)

Thanks for the sad-but-totes-true list, Mette!