Tuesday, August 31, 2010

6 Misconceptions of Non-Writers

I love non-writers. I come from a family of them and I was a non-writer once. I love to think back about all the misconceptions I once had about publishing and writing. Today I'm going to share and de-mystify a few.

#1: Publishing is easy
This is a common one. Before I became a writer, I used to think that all a writer had to do was write a book and it would somehow magically become a novel. I'm not really sure how I thought that worked but I was a naiive young writer back then.

#2: You make a lot of money publishing a book
This one comes courtesy of my grandpa who told my mom to publish her book so she could make some money. It is not at all true. Many writers still need and have day jobs. Writing is not a stable source of income. Most advances are not the six-figure ones that so many people dream of receiving. Some writers may not get an advance at all. It depends on the publisher and the book, and advances can even vary book to book for the same author. Disregarding advances, your source of income would be your royalties. Which also vary depending on how your book is selling and are only received after your book earns out its advance. In addition, even if your book sold today it's still going to be a year or two before it's actually released.

#3: You don't have to do a thing after your book is published
This is another one from me and it is SO. NOT. TRUE. Once your book lands an editor there's lots of edits to be done. Rounds and rounds of them. Then you've got publicity and many, many things to have to be done before and after the release date. On top of writing and editing your next book, of course.

#4: Paying to publish is okay
This one's courtesy of my uncle. Paying to publish is not okay. In fact, it's a red flag in agents and publishers. Money should flow to the author. You should not have to pay reading fees or anything of that nature. Extra fees is how vanity publishers make their money and why we have sites like Writer Beware, and Preditors and Editors.

#5: Writers just have to write the book and then send it out to the editor
Why...why couldn't this one have been true... Way back when I wrote my first novel. I sent it to a beta. They gave wonderful feedback. I started researching the publishing industry. I figured I could just send it off. WRONG. That novel sucked. A lot. Writing the book is just the tip of the ice berg. Once you write "The End" you have rounds of edits that need to be done, revisions with beta, and then query/synop writing and all that jazz.

#6: Writers are hermits
This is true-ish. Writers do tend to be a solitary breed as it can be difficult to get writing done when your phone rings every five minutes and someone wants you go to to the movies and you've got soccer practice every night after school. Though this is a myth in the way that writers are stereotypically shown as people who sit in their houses all day long and type away at their laptops while sitting at their desk. Writers do have lives. We have friends, significant others, family, responsibilities, clubs, activities outside of our home. Your writing should not take over your life to the point where you ignore everything else around you.


CharTheShark said...

Loved this post.
I used to think only an elite few are writers, so when they write something it gets automatically published because no one really writes and the world needs books...
(Sometimes I still think this because I know almost 0 writers in real life.)
That was before I BECAME a writer and realized that there were so many writers out there. There's competition but also support, which I like :)