When I give writing advice, people don't automatically discard what I have to say in lieu of another writer who happens to be published.
My family no longer refers to my desire to get published as a pipe dream.
Time spent daydreaming is now considered by others to be actual work (before publication I was just being lazy.)
I don't feel embarassed when I propose to teach at a writers conference, because I've been validated by the publishing world. Opinions are very contagious.
Before I was published, I didn't get a whole lot of fan mail, with the exception of some kind soul who would tell me I encouraged them at a writer's conference, or here on Novel Journey. Now, I get letters and emails on a pretty consistent basis, many of which are so uplifting, they find a place in my sunshine folder. (The folder I keep to read on days I feel like a miserable hack.)
My ditzyness is no longer viewed as an automatic discount of intelligence, because, come on, how stupid can you really be to write a novel and get it published? (Rhetorical, please don't answer).
But with these perks, come some stressors. I no longer can just write, I have to sell books, do book signings, answer the same question a hundred times in interviews.
I don't just deal with critiques from friends that no one but me will see, when I am critiqued, it is public and there's nothing I can do about the so-called suggestions because the book is out. Editing over. Those critics can rip me apart publicly on sites like Amazon and book blogs, and I can't so much as comment without looking like sour grapes.
People assume that I have money. I still work as a nurse full-time, and my salary is more than six times what I made as a writer last year. This year will be better, but I'm pretty sure I'll still make more as a nurse. Probably way more.
I got on an elevator the other night and a nurse said to me, "Why are you still here? I thought you'd be living it up in NYC, travelling to Euorpe or something."
Um.... no. I'm still buying store brand cereal and watching every dime.
The pressure is also higher. When I turned in Dry as Rain last year, I was asked for a major rewrite. Before I was published when someone told me my manuscript had a fatal flaw, I just set it aside and started something new. Now, I don't have that option. I had to make the book work, knowing that whatever I wrote, good or mediocre, would be on the shelves in a year, defining me as a writer and directing the rest of my career.
Before you're published, numbers are only important when you're talking about the platform you're building. Now, they still matter there, but also the number of books you sell directly results in whether or not you get another contract and how much you get paid.
Sometimes a great book will only sell a few thousand copies, even when you've done everything you can to help promote it. Publishing is a roulette wheel in many ways.
I just worked three twelve-hour night shifts as a nurse, and have two days off. I'm sick. Before I was published, I would have let myself have those two days to rest before going back to work. Now, I can't because my second book is due tonight at midnight. After I take the dog to the vet, drop my son off at school, pick up some groceries for dinner, I'll spend the day reading through my manuscript with the pressure that these very words, will be out on shelves and in critics hands soon, tomorrow, I go back to work as a nurse.
Being published is wonderful, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Actually, it exceeds my dreams, just not in the way I thought it would. I'm not rich or famous, and I'm certainly not living it up in Europe or NYC, but I am content knowing that my words are touching people in ways I never imagined.