|Contract number one!|
This is a picture of me holding my first real book contract. What an amazing day! Man, was I naive! Before my series was published, I had no idea what I was getting into. You can read post after post and go to forum after forum, but until you're fully entrenched in "the business" it's hard to know what to expect. Even now, after being published since 2010, I still don't have all the answers--not even close. I guess that's good, though, keeps life exciting!
Long story short, here's 7 things about publishing you may not already know. Please feel free to add to the list in the comment section.
1. Just because you were published once (and published well) doesn't mean you'll get published again. Many writers think it's just that easy, but they're wrong. A foot in the door is just that, it's not another book contract.
2. You may have had a bestselling debut book, but if book number two isn't awesome, your publisher may not (and probably won't) publish it. While I was speaking at an author's event a few years back, I met several bestselling authors who had books shelved by their publishers AFTER they were already bestselling. They said (in a nutshell) their publishers had told them the books weren’t good enough and the house and the author would both look bad for putting them out there. Goes to show you, money is NOT everything to publishers.
|Me holding my first copy of Book II|
3. Your agent may be brilliant at selling children's books, but the adult writing world is completely different. So, if you've written an adult novel, chances are your kidlit agent will tell you to shop it to other agencies.
4. Foreign rights are awesome! By and large, the author simply sits back. The book is translated by the foreign house and many times given a new cover. The author does little in most cases, but collect advance and royalty checks. If you can get a foreign rights deal, it's a very nice perk, plus you get to see your book translated into another language which is so rewarding.
5. Throw yourself into your book's marketing. Many writers may think if you sign with a big house or any house they will throw tons of money into marketing your book. NOT TRUE. Most houses, including the household names, have very little money allocated for marketing most of their list, therefore it's on you to get the majority of the word out there. If you can't afford a publicity agent than start a grassroots campaign and work your backside off. Trust me, you can get the word out there with little to no money, just be prepared to work!
|My little girl holding my first book at B&N|
6. Contracts take a long time! From the time your agent calls you with the news to the time the contract is signed you better be prepared to wait. Contracts go back and forth between the agent and the publisher several times and then they have to go to legal and sometimes many other departments in between, so be prepared to wait, sometimes over six months. Even though it's so hard to keep quiet, this is why you should never reveal your "deal" until all the ink is dry. This is a crazy industry and you just never know what could happen.
7. Books get pulled ALL THE TIME. You have a book contract. You're editing at breakneck speed. Everything seems to be going fine and then BOOM your publisher pulls the rug out from under you. It could be that your editor quit or the house doesn't like the direction of the project--there's so many reasons why this happens there's too many to list, but it does happen, so be prepared. It's hard and it hurts terrifically but you can survive it. You've got to dust yourself off and start again. If you hadn't had been persistent, you would not be here in the first place!