When you finally type those last few words of your novel you may well feel utterly elated. You have done what so many people try and fail to do; you made it! You got to the finish line!
While there is much to be celebrated about completing a book, the reality is that there is also so much more to do. Unfortunately, this is where it really gets tough, and if you want to see your book in print, either by trying to get a publisher to accept it or through self-publishing, you have a long road ahead of you!
Nowadays it is all too easy to submit your book to websites such as Amazon, list a price you’d like to sell it at, hit a button and, voila! Your book is out there for the world to see. However, the truth is that no one made any money from publishing their book this way, and many authors soon see their elation fade when they realize that no one is buying their work.
The realities of getting your book published are these: it takes time, effort, research, learning, making mistakes, feeling disappointed, experimenting and trying again – and even then there is no guarantee that your book will sell well!
While this all might sound a little disheartening if you’ve managed to finish your book then you owe it to yourself to see it through. Here are some cold hard truths about publishing your book that every author should know.
No matter how much you edit, you still need an editor.
You may have edited your book to within an inch of its life, and put it through every spelling and grammar checker out there. But you know what? It still needs a professional editor to look it over. No matter how great your editing skills are they are unlikely to beat those of a professional, so just bite the bullet and pay for someone who’s had years of experience and has an excellent reputation to give you some feedback too.
If you get an agent, your book still might not get published.
It’s true that getting an agent is tough, but just because you’ve landed yourself one it doesn’t mean your book will end up being a bestseller. Sure having the backing of an agent is useful, they are in the business to make money after all and have the connections to give you a massive advantage. But your book could still get rejected by publishers, and it might be that your agent simply can’t deliver.
Don’t quit your day job even if you do get a publisher.
Even if your book ends up doing really well, the publishing process itself is SLOW. By all means be extremely excited, by all means, treat yourself to a glass of champagne. But don’t call up your boss and tell him you quit then and there, it could be up to 18 months before you even see your book in print.
Self-publishing? If you work really hard, you might make some money, but probably not enough to live off.
Even if you follow every piece of marketing and promotional advice to a T, self-publishing is still a challenging and unpredictable way to earn a living. Seeing your book sell even a few copies a month is better than most, so be proud of yourself if you achieve this – but don’t give up your day job just yet.
The most successful writers are the ones who keep on writing, who understand and accept that publishing, in whatever form, isn’t for the faint-hearted and keep on going anyway.
Seeing your book in print is still a massive achievement and by being prepared for the hard work, the disappointments, and the long waiting periods you are more likely to keep persevering –
and you never know when success might be just right around the corner!
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