In Monday’s blog post I talked about getting published, including tips for navigating publishers and agents and getting that coveted acceptance. In this post, I’m going to talk about things to do after you capture that prize. Some of you, like me, may be new and wondering what happens now. I’ll give you some tips based on the experiences I’ve had since becoming a published author:
1. Accept that most editors know much more about writing than you do. You’ve been writing your entire life. You’ve taken classes. Your grammar and spelling are polished. You understand how to construct plot and create characters. You’ve studied every way there is to properly put together a manuscript. That’s great. You’re going to be amazed how much you actually don’t know, so sit down and be quiet. Listen to your editor, take their advice, and learn from them. I was stunned how much I didn’t know about writing until my editor guided me and helped me shape my writing. The knowledge I’ve gotten from being published has been absolutely invaluable. Make sure you take what you learn from these professionals and start applying it to your work in the future. You’ll be amazed at how your writing blooms.
2. Don’t lose your mind over edits. It’s common to receive a marked up manuscript back from your editor and want to drink yourself to sleep. It’s easy to look at the changes and get defensive, angry, and hurt. Instead, look through the edits and try to understand and correct your mistakes so you don’t make them next time. Take a deep breath and remember, your editor just wants you to write the best possible story you can write. It’s hard to be grateful when you feel like you’re being told you’re a stupid stupidhead who can’t write, but if you take it step-by-step you’ll learn a great deal. And remember, they accepted your story for a reason–they just want to make it shine now.
3. You are your own promotion machine. Unless you’re already a New York Times bestselling author, no one is going to know who you are and no one is going to tell them but you. You have to give yourself an internet presence, whether you like it or not. Get involved in social media. Start blogging. Send your stuff to reviewers. Get involved in forums and discussions. Go to conventions. Put yourself in people’s faces. New authors don’t get much attention advertising-wise so you have to make it yourself. Say hello to other authors and make new friends.
4. Don’t buy that mansion and yacht just yet. Seriously, you’re not going to get rich, especially when you’re first starting out. You’re actually probably going to spend more money than you make to promote yourself. Keep your day job for now.
5. Get back to work. It’s nice to bask in the glory of being published, but remember what got you there and get back to it, so you can stay relevant and build a readership. It’s what you wanted to do with your life anyway, isn’t it?
Any other authors out there with some advice? Let’s hear it!