The Steve Laube Agency just ran a blog post asking, "What is one thing you wish you had known before you became a writer?"
Here is their blog post: http://www.stevelaube.com/one-thing-wish-known/
Here is my answer:
When I finished the manuscript for The Company They Keep, I drove to Staples, packaged up the thick wad of printed pages, and sent it off to the Kent State University Press. When I got home, I half-expected to see a note from the publisher waiting for me: “Thank you for your manuscript. It’s perfect! Your work is done; ours just begun. You take care now.”
Here’s the problem: I thought I had crossed the finish line. “That’s a wrap,” I thought. And smiled: “Now its time to celebrate and start working on my next book.”
I was wrong. Submitting my finished manuscript to the publisher was not the finish line: it was the halfway point. Next came the editing, revising, and proofing. Then filling out questionnaires and writing copy for press releases, mailings, ads, brochures, and flyers. Then scheduling and attending promotion events: interviews, articles, conferences. Then the on-going, never-ending labor of maintaining my platform through blogs, and Twitter, and Linked In, and so on, and so on, and so on.
Here’s the take-away: Being an author has two phases. Writing your book. And then being a good shepherd of its legacy.
If I had understood that sooner, I would have accepted it more joyfully, energetically, prayerfully, thoughtfully, strategically, and creatively. I would have struggled less and worried less.
And I would have had a lot more fun.
Three books that have helped me to do the second half of my job:
The Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt
Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield
Do you have books you'd recommend?
Is there something about being a writer that you wish you'd known?