I admit, when I signed my first contract with Entangled Publishing, I had no idea what the process would be like. I’d been writing for years, but being published is an entirely different animal. It’s something you can’t really prepare for. I think, in the back of my mind, I was holding on to some ideas (or maybe fanciful dreams that had no basis in reality is the better term) about what being published would mean. How things have actually turned out is quite a bit different.
First misconception: Writing gets easier. It has gotten easier in that the more I write, the more ideas I come up with for future projects. But, if anything, the writing itself has become more difficult. Back when I was writing with no audience and no pressure, I wasn’t as much of a perfectionist. There was no reason to be, since I was only writing for myself. Now that I know I have readers and a fan base (even if it’s a smaller one), I second guess myself a lot more, I pick apart my writing more, I try to do better each time I write. So, since I’ve been published, my writing speed and ease have actually taken a hit.
Second misconception: Insta-fame. I should clarify this—I didn’t want to be a household name like J.K. Rowling, but there’s some hope that when you get published, you’ll be known in your genre/subgenre. That’s not exactly how it works. Yes, there are people who have shot to insta-stardom in their genre with their first book. Those people are a small percentage of writers. A lot of authors have to write several books before this happens, if it ever does.
Third misconception: I’m rich! I think a few non-authors tend to believe if you’re an author, you’re rolling in money. Give me a second to laugh and then weep. The reality is, because you’re not an established name, you’re probably not going to make much when you first start out (unless you’re one of those shooting stars of insta-stardom). Slowly, you’ll build a name, and slowly, you’ll make more money, provided all goes well. It might not go well. Even if it does, there will probably be up and down years—some where you make more and some where you make less. Does this mean you’ll ever be rich? It’s possible—a lot of things are possible!—but not very likely.
I’m not trying to turn anyone off of a writing career. Is it challenging sometimes? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes! But I like to look at striving for a successful writing career as you would look at any other endeavor—it takes a lot of persistence and hard work, and a little luck doesn’t hurt, either.
Lily Maxton grew up in the Midwest, reading, writing, and daydreaming amidst cornfields. After graduating with a degree in English, she decided to put her natural inclinations to good use and embark on a career as a writer.
When she’s not working on a new story, she likes to tour old houses, add to her tea stash, and think of reasons to avoid housework.