Saturday, 24 October 2009
A Very Special Guest
So the "Heaven Can Wait" virtual book tour has made it to the North East. I'm happy to welcome all visitors to the blog and to those of you that haven't been here before, help yourself to tea and coffee and the cake is in the cupboard.
I wondered if the reality of getting a book deal was how Cally had dreamed it would be. So without delay please allow me to hand over to the very talented Cally Taylor and she can tell us.
The Reality vs The Dream
When Colette asked me to write a guest blog post about the reality of becoming a published author compared to the dream I scratched my head a bit. My journey to publication has been particularly lucky. I wasn’t rejected by hundreds of agents, nor was I rejected by hundred of publishers but the reality is a bit different to how I’d imagined it so here we go – my top 6 differences...
The Dream: #1
Writing and editing your novel is the hard bit, after you’ve got an agent/publisher you’re pretty much done
The Reality: Every agent worth their salt will ask you to make some changes to your novel before they submit it an editor. If you’re lucky, like I was, the changes won’t be enormous or require you to completely re-structure of your book, but you will have to do some more work on it. When you get a publishing deal the editing continues. My editor also asked me to make some changes, as did my paperback editor and once that’s done there’s the copyeditor’s edits to look at too...
The Dream: #2
When you get a publishing deal you’re instantly rich and can swan around all day in your dressing gown, maybe tapping out a couple of hundred words before bed
The Reality: Very few authors get the kind of six or seven figure advances you read about in the press (the reason they’re big news is because they’re so unusual!) and you’re unlikely to earn enough to give up your day job. Life continues just as it did when you were writing your first novel only now there’s even more stuff to fit in after work/at the weekends!
The Dream: #3
Writing your second book will be easier and quicker than writing the first one
The Reality: Unless you write a book using exactly the same structure and format as your first book it’s not going to be any easier. I decided to use a completely different structure and multiple points of view for my second book and it’s like learning to write a novel all over again! You also have less time because you have to balance writing your second book with editing and promoting your first one and doing all the boring author stuff like registering as self-employed and filling out lots and lots of forms for VAT, National Insurance and the like.
The Dream: #4
You’ll be invited to lots of glamorous parties/dinners/awards ceremonies
The Reality: In a year I’ve had one lunch with my agent, lunch and tea with my publishers, was invited to their annual author party and attended the RNA (Romantic Novelists Association) awards ceremony. The lunches were yummy, the party was glamorous and the awards ceremony was amazing but it’s not like you’re swanning down a red carpet every weekend, hobnobbing with celebrities and getting freebies left right and centre (I had to buy a ticket to attend the awards ceremony). The reality of being an author is plonking your bum down on your chair and putting your fingers on the keyboard, day after day, night after night. Sometimes, if I’m dedicating a whole weekend to writing, the only person I’ll hobnob with is the postman (and then I’ll be in my dressing gown rather than trussed up in some fancy designer frock!).
The Dream: #5
Because people say lovely things about your book you’ll be filled with inner confidence and all your writerly wibbles/wobbles and insecurities will disappear
The Reality: I’m sorry to say that writerly wibbles and wobbles don’t disappear. In fact they get worse! When people say lovely things about your debut novel you feel an internal pressure to make your next book as good, or better – and worry that maybe you’re a one book wonder and will never write anything publishable again!
The Dream: #6
Landing a publishing deal will make your life perfect
The Reality : The last year has been the most amazing, magical year of my life and I’ve laughed and cried with joy but I’d be lying if I said that landing a publishing deal has made my life perfect. I still have the same stresses and worries as I did when I was unpublished – bills, relationship/legal/property problems and bad hair days (the postman has witnessed a lot of them!) to name just a few - and saying “I’ve got a publishing deal” doesn’t make those stresses magically disappear.
But would I do it all over again given how the dream compares to the reality?
A million times, yes. Yes. Yes.
Cally Taylor – author of supernatural romantic-comedy “Heaven Can Wait” (Orion Paperback)