When I was starting out, I learned some of my expectations were myth instead of facts. For me, it’s another reminder that there are things in life I don’t know I don’t know, until I experience for myself. Can you relate? In hindsight, there are several things I would tell my younger writing self.
Sixteen Things That Surprised Me As a New Writer
- Book signings rarely spur big sales — they’re more hype than help. But good speaking events still consistently drive buyers to your book tables.
- Once you succeed as a published author, at least 25% of the people you meet will want you to help them write the book they’ve always dreamed of writing. For free.
- You will need to protect your writing time fiercely. The more you achieve, the more other things will try to impede.
- Publishing success is not always fair. A good book can struggle to find an audience, while a poorly written book can go viral.
- You will probably never feel like your book is truly good enough. But there does come a time you must say, “It’s good and it’s enough.” Otherwise, you’ll never publish anything.
- Once you learn the essentials of the writing craft, you will never read someone else’s book in quite the same way.
- Some people simply won’t like what you write, no matter how well you’ve penned it. A small percentage will even make their criticism a personal attack, but you must decide in advance to rise above the opinions of others, otherwise, they can crush you. Remember, there are as many varying perspectives as there are various personalities.
- There are a lot more givers than takers in the publishing industry — resolve to fall into the giving category, and you won’t have to struggle as much to get.
- When you succeed as a writer, a small group of trusted family and friends may accuse you of changing, when in reality, they’ve simply changed their way of looking at you.
- It’s often harder to sell books than to write them, until you publish enough titles. The more you write, the more your followers tell their friends, who tell their friends, and so on, and so on. Many writers don’t stick it out that long.
- Best sellers are often on the market for two years or more before they catch fire.
- Not all retailers that move books are bookstores or coffee shops. A lot of niche shops and online organizational groups can sell plenty of books if the content fits their interests.
- No one will care about your book as much as you — not even your publisher. You must take on the role of book advocate for every title you write.
- Writing provides the most daunting and thrilling roller coaster of emotions you will ever ride.
- You will need to involve yourself with a writer’s community, otherwise you may feel very lonely. Unless someone has experienced this crazy world with the intense interest of a passionate wordsmith, they won’t get it. Don’t hold this against your family and friends.
- The average overnight success takes about ten years. But the reward is worth the effort. It’s important not to give up!
What would you teach your younger writing self about the industry or craft?