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Monday, December 9, 2013

Who Says Writing is Easy?

By Shobhan Bantwal

Don't all published writers occasionally come across people who assume that writing novels is simple? Most folks are really awed by the process, but I have met a few who seem to think writing a book is easy, and that publishers will line up at your door to buy it. And pay you a ton of money to boot! This naturally leads to the absurd assumption about huge advances and royalties.

When I tell such individuals how hard it is to write a novel, then find a reputable agent, and eventually sell one's work to a publisher, they look at me like I must be rather dim-witted because it took me a while to sell my first book. Only a fellow writer would understand the trials and tribulations of achieving that special and coveted status, the one labeled "published writer."

Sleepless nights, nail-biting, frustrated sighs, and even a few tears of anguish are all part of getting there. Then there are so many of us who have tough full-time jobs, families, and social obligations that demand attention, leaving very little time to write.

But then after completing the uphill climb to actually getting published there is yet another, steeper mountain to navigate: Marketing and Promotion. Personally I have found that promo and reader outreach are ten times harder than writing the book.

Of course one can hire a marketing consultant and/or a virtual assistant to handle some of the promotional work, but that has its limits too. A few fellow writers who hired high-priced PR agents have not sold any more books than the ones who had neither the budget nor the time for any fancy marketing tools.

While we all work hard as authors and try to find the most cost-efficient resources to publicize our books, it still feels like it is never enough.

So, is fiction writing any easier in today's self-publishing and e-publisher markets? With my limited technical abilities I am absolutely amazed at what some self-published writers have accomplished through Amazon and other avenues.

How many of you have found fame and fortune with these new trends? I would love to hear comments about how easy or challenging it has been for you to "arrive."

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Paty Jager said...

Hi Shobhan,

That,"who aren't published yet" look from people, is why I told few people I was a writer when I was still trying to get published. It is amazing how many people think writing is easy. It's when I run into people who can't imagine trying to write and wonder how I can come up with so many ideas that I feel the struggle was worth it.

I was published with a small press first and now I do a lot of self publishing. It has been a struggle to maintain a balance between the promoting, the business side(formatting, editing and such)and writing the next book. Some days I feel like all I do is spin my wheels and then I'll have a good writing day or I'll have a solid selling week and I feel like the spinning was worth it. Whether published traditionally or self-published there is always something that should have been done yesterday.

Madelle Morgan said...

One reason my novel took so long to get published was that publishers took six months to a year to review my manuscript! Even so, they did not want authors to make multiple submissions! Many traditional publishers are improving their response time, but still, the traditional path of finding an agent, then submitting to publishers, takes years. Authors do not have the patience for that now that there is an alternative.

Judith Ashley said...

Hi Shobhan, My goal is to publish in 2014 and because publishers are not lining up at my door with bags of money under their arms or large checks with my name on it, I am looking at self-publishing. I've never used "Styles" or a "template" so I've got converting to do but once I do that work, the rest (technically speaking) seems doable. And, now that I know about templates and "Styles" I can finish my series using them so I can finish the project more easily.

I've found reading Maggie McVay Lynch's DIY Publishing took the stark terror out of the process and a part of me is actually looking forward to learning how to use my computer more efficiently.

Shobhan Bantwal said...

Paty, Madelle, & Judith,

Thank you so much for sharing your respective experiences with writing and getting published. Every author has a unique story regarding their path to "getting there" and it's so interesting to hear all of them.

Whenever someone makes a remark to me about how easy it must be to write a romance, I smile and say they should try their hand at it, & that I'm sure they'll have loads of success. Of course, their usual answer is "I don't have the time for that." Again I smile and reply, "Yeah, I know. Been there, done that. But you really should try it anyway."

Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year to all of you! And I wish you lots of success in your literary endeavors.