Getting published is both the hardest and the easiest thing.
If you want to be an author, getting a publishing contract will be your top priority. It’s time-consuming, can be filled with rejection, and will test your love for writing. While this can be emotionally challenging, the process is fairly straight-forward – you submit your cover letter, synopsis and three chapters to a publisher, and wait for a response. And if you’re submitting more than one book or to more than one publisher, it’s something that you’ll soon grow used to. Don’t work yourself up about it unnecessarily!
There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work.
After I got my publishing contract, there was a lot happening behind the scenes that I didn’t see coming. There were many back-and-forth emails to different people at the publisher to finalise the contract, and being in a different country complicated the admin. I also had to start thinking about myself as a “brand”, which meant social media. All this, including my website, took time and effort, which shifted my focus away from writing sometimes. Be prepared for this!
Working with an editor changes your writing process.
When it’s just you writing, things are slightly simpler. You can just focus on getting words on a page, and those words don’t have to be good. When you work with an editor, that immediately changes. For me, it meant writing a few chapters, reviewing them, and then sending them through to my editor. Then I wrote some more, got my chapters back from my editor, revised them and applied whatever changes I made during the revisions to my new chapters – and repeated this as necessary. It will take time to figure this out; be patient.
Your second published book will be harder to write than your first.
This is the first book you’ll write because you have to. All sorts of doubts will fill your mind about whether the first book your publisher bought was a fluke, or whether you’re any good. You’ll be working under a deadline, you’ll feel pressured, and that may affect your creativity. The good news is that you now get to work with someone who can guide you and help you if you get stuck. Your editor will be your greatest resource in your publishing career – don’t be afraid to talk to him or her!
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of this, but you don’t have to figure out everything at once. Just make sure you’re open to learning. Read up on what you should do, get in touch with your fellow writers, and observe what people in your field are doing. Even the most experienced writers were new at some point and they succeeded – so will you!