I've been at this publishing gig seven years now, which means I've learned 7 Myths about publishing, one for every year. So without further ado, here they are:
- All authors make a bucket load of money. (Actuality: We make about 78 cents a book. Most of us make less than a teacher’s aid).
- Rejection ceases to exist once you’ve signed your first book contract. (Actuality: It gets worse, and the rejections hurt more.)
- The process of getting Published is akin those models who get discovered in diners. It just happens without much effort. (Actuality: 10,000 hours of writing finally makes you a master at it. That’s about ten years. When I signed with an agent and sold two books in that year, folks thought I arrived quickly. Wrong. I arrived after 10,000 hours of my behind on the chair.)
- Publishers revel in marketing your books. (Actuality: They do the best they can, but in today’s climate, it’s truly up to the author to get the word out.)
- Authors don’t go to the grocery store. (Actuality: Um, yeah, they do. Off to Kroger soon…)
- You can usually skip the busywork of writing for smaller publications and go for book writing out of the gate. (Actuality: It’s better and more “normal” to have a wide body of periodical work published before you find an agent. Otherwise, how will an agent know if you can write, meet deadlines, and take editorial direction?)
- Book signings are the cat’s meow for authors. (Actuality: We don’t really like them, often because folks don’t show up and you feel like a 7th grader again, standing near the wall, waiting to be asked to dance. So not fun. Although I will say it’s an author’s rite of passage to attend a book signing and sell zero books. Yes, this has happened to me. Many times.)
Mary DeMuth is the author of ten books, publishing myths notwithstanding. She mentors writers toward publication at The Writing Spa, and she blogs every single weekday (like a crazy woman) at MaryDeMuth.com.